Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Applied Economics

Committee Chair/Advisor

Espey, Molly

Committee Member

Hammig , Michael

Committee Member

Templeton , Scott

Committee Member

Willis , Dave


Determinants for farmers' choice of water-saving land improvements in Northern China are analyzed with a sample survey of 401 villages. The analysis focuses on two aspects of adoption, whether or not to adopt and if a technology is adopted, how much land to which to apply the technology. In the first stage, 'whether to adopt', multinomial logit models are applied to analyze the discrete choice of alternative land improvement strategies. In the second stage of adoption, 'how much to adopt', both sample selection models and OLS models are utilized to measure the adoption extent of field leveling, use of borders, and use of furrows. The econometric results of this study indicate that farmers are willing to adopt water-saving land improvements and change water use behavior when water is less abundant. Water availability has a positive impact on both the probability and the intensity of adoption of water-saving land improvements. Government interventions such as extension service, demonstration fields, or provision of subsidies or loans boost the adoption of water-saving land improvements. In addition, farmers with more arable land are less likely to adopt traditional water-saving land improvements and more likely to switch to modern water-saving land improvements. Another interesting finding in this study is that while the amount of arable land per household is negative and significant in the discrete choice model on the choice of traditional water-saving land improvements, it is positive and significant in the continuous choice model, which implies a threshold value for arable land per household.
Nonetheless, this study provides some policy implications for the Chinese policy makers. Although the adoption rate of water-saving land improvements in Northern China is relative low, with the right incentive farmers are willing to switch to more efficient water-saving land improvements. Government can subsidize or issue loans to induce the adoption of modern water-saving land improvements which require a sizable upfront investment that Chinese farmers usually cannot afford to. Demonstration fields also provide an effective way to encourage farmers' adoption of water-saving land improvements. The land rental market which emerged in rural China starting in the 1990s can induce land circulation and the achievement economies of scale in farming and in turn increase the adoption of more efficient water-saving land improvements. Finally, the nine-year compulsory education program in China will benefit farmers and likely increase technology adoption. Continued government support of each of these programs will encourage increased adoption of water-saving land improvements.

Included in

Economics Commons



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