November 2023

IZA DP No. 16575: Land Markets and Labor Productivity: Empirical Evidence from China

This study investigates the impact of the land rental market (LRM) on labor productivity in rural China. Particular attention is given to farm and non-farm labor productivity. Using 2012 household-level data and a multinomial endogenous switching treatment regression (MESTR) technique, we find that rural households renting-in farmland increased labor productivity in the farm sector by about 55%, while labor productivity in the non-farm sector decreased by about 6%. We also find that rural households renting-out farmland had lower labor productivity in both the farm and non-farm sectors by 13% and 9%, respectively. More family labor transferred from the farm to the non-farm sector after renting-out land.