How Does Rural–Urban Migration Experience Affect Arable Land Use? Evidence from 2293 Farmers in China | Land Portal
Land Journal Volume 9 Issue 11 cover image

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Date of publication: 
November 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Return migrants play an increasingly important role in agricultural production in China and other developing countries. However, the effect of rural–urban migration experience on farmers’ arable land use remains unclear. This study aims to fill this gap using data from a survey of 2293 farmers consisting of 586 return migrants and 1707 non-migrants in China. We employ the treatment effects model to account for the self-selectivity of rural–urban migration experience arising from observable and unobservable factors. The results show that after accounting for the self-selectivity bias, the rural–urban migration experience significantly increases farmers’ arable land use by 22%. Meanwhile, the positive effect of rural–urban migration experience on arable land use differs by farmers’ age group and region. While rural–urban migration experience increases arable land use for farmers aged below 65 years old by 29%, it shows no significant effect on arable land use for farmers aged 65 years old and above. In addition, there is a positive relationship between rural–urban migration experience and arable land use in Shaanxi, Shandong, and Zhejiang. However, there is no significant effect of rural–urban migration experience on arable land use. On such a basis, we discuss several important implications for policies related to arable land use in China.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Chen, Qianqian
Hu, Ruifa
Sun, Yiduo
Zhang, Chao


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