The Rural Land Contracting Law (RLCL), announced in 2003, is a landmark law for agricultural households in rural China. It provides new legal protections for leasing agricultural land. In theory, increasing free market exchanges of land should improve agricultural productivity by facilitating the movement of land towards the most productive users. We find that the property rights reform led to a 10 percent increase in land rental activity among rural households, a redistribution of land towards more productive farmers, and a 7 percent increase in the aggregate productivity of land. We also observe an increased responsiveness of land allocation across crops to changes in crop prices.
We identify bank loans to China’s local government financing vehicles and find that 1.7% of the loans that matured during the sample period failed to make the due payments. The LGFV loan default rate is much higher for commercial banks than for the China Development Bank, which provides more comprehensive financing for local governments than typical commercial banks. This selective default pattern is weaker during the ¥4-trillion stimulus period but stronger after 2010 when commercial banks exited the LGFV market.
In Shanghai, housing entitlements with enrollment access to a good public primary school is associated with a 0.1-0.35 percentage point lower annual rental yield. This rental yield gap is the opportunity cost of securing such housing, which is within the affordability range of most middle-income families in Shanghai. This implies that, should there be no credit constraint for homeownership, children from middle-income families should have a higher likelihood of accessing better public education. We find, however, that the enrollment rights between homeowners and renters, together with the credit constraint to own a home, actually lowers the chance of children from middle-income families of attending better public schools relative to those children from families with high initial wealth. This resulting reduced intergeneration mobility exacerbates the social inequality in China.
China’s entry into WTO resulted in a significant reduction in tariffs on imported manufactured goods into China. We examine the effects of market liberalization on firm and industry performance. Tariff cuts on outputs and intermediates had highly complementary effects on productivity, and explain in upwards of forty per cent of the productivity gains between 1998-2007. The effects on mark-ups were largely offsetting, however lower tariffs on inputs helped to provide additional resources for productivity-enhancing investments.