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Are the poor benefiting from China's land conservation program?


This paper studies the impact of the largest conservation set-aside program in the developing world: China's Grain for Green program, on poverty alleviation in rural areas. Based on a large-scale survey, we find that the program was implemented mostly in the areas of China that are fairly poor. In addition, we show that income from livestock activities and some types of asset holdings of participants have increased significantly more than those of non-participants (due to program effects). Only weak evidence is provided demonstrating that participating households have begun to shift their labor into the off-farm sectors. Overall, the results suggest that the program has been moderately successful in achieving its poverty alleviation objectives.

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The authors are grateful for the assistance during the fieldwork part of this study provided by Yazhen Gong and other members of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. An earlier version of the paper was presented at UC Davis and the 2004 AAEA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. We thank Keijiro Otsuka, Doug Miller, Aaron Smith, Bryan Lohmar, participants of the seminars, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions. The authors acknowledge the support from Ford Foundation. Ditto National Science Foundation of China (70024001) for financial assistance. RI AES Contribution No. 5105
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Environment and Development Economics
  • ISSN: 1355-770X
  • EISSN: 1469-4395
  • URL: /core/journals/environment-and-development-economics
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