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China's regional agricultural productivity growth in 1985–2007: A multilateral comparison


  • The views expressed herein are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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In this study, we estimate total factor productivity (TFP) growth as well as multilateral TFP index for 25 contiguous China provinces over the 1985–2007 period. Agricultural output growth for each province was decomposed into TFP growth and input growth, where input growth was further disaggregated into contributions from growth of labor, capital, land, and intermediate goods. Over the study period, TFP growth contributed 2.7 percentage points to output growth annually, which was slightly higher than the input growth contribution of 2.4 percentage points per annum. On average, the annual rate of productivity growth peaked during 1996–2000, at 5.1%. It slowed in 2000–2005 to a rate of 3.2% per annum and declined in the most recent years (2005–2007) to −3.7%. Differences in productivity among regions persisted over the entire period. The tendency toward faster TFP growth in relatively well-off coastal regions may imply a widening of regional inequality.