Aging, social network and family farming business: evidence from CFPS

HE Lingxiao1 NAN Yongqing2 ZHANG Zhonggen1

(1.School of Management, Zhejiang University)
(2.School of Economics, Shandong University)

【Abstract】The present paper investigates the impact of rural aging labor force and its interaction with social networks on family farming business by using the data from China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) 2010 and 2012. Results show that aging has a significant negative effect on family farming business, but household’s social networks can well alleviate the adverse effect of aging, and the alleviating effect can be enhanced with the increase of the degree of aging. Extended discussions show that buffering effects of social networks are mainly reflected by easing old farmers’ labor constraints; in addition, social networks can help aged farming households transfer land. Our findings not only enrich the empirical studies from the aging perspective in the field of farming business, but also provide preliminary empirical evidence on how to improve aged farming households’ agricultural earnings.

【Keywords】 aging; social networks; family farming business;


【Funds】 The present project are sponsored by Humanities and Social Sciences Research and Planning Fund Project, Ministry of Education (15YJA790065) Key Planning Program of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Education of Henan Province (2015-ZD-094)

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(Translated by DONG hongfei)


    [1]. (1) Although the proportion of family business income among the overall farming household income is decreasing year by year, it is still the main body of farmers’ income. The growth level and speed of household income directly affect the income improvement of farmers. [^Back]

    [2]. (2) In the calculation of per capita agricultural net income, this paper excludes the non-agricultural employment population of every household with the mere consideration of the population engaged in agricultural production. [^Back]

    [3]. (3) In the empirical analysis, the samples less than zero among the agriculture net income per capita and agriculture cost per mu are removed. Those samples under the logarithm process are expected to have lower heteroskedasticity. [^Back]

    [4]. (1) Plow is measured by the area sum of family-owned irrigated land and arid land. Capi is measured by the overall cost incurred by farming households’ purchase of trucks, motorcycles and the house current value of previous month. [^Back]

    [5]. (1) Labor exchange not only makes use of unpaid labor outside family, but also meets the demands of collective agricultural activities (Fei, 2007). [^Back]

    [6]. (2) From the rural reality perspective, as the farming busy period of every individual farming household may vary, in agricultural production, there exist volunteering mutual beneficial behaviors among relatives and friends. Labor hiring is market behavior though mostly promoted by the non-marking causes such as social relationship. [^Back]

    [7]. (3) Farming households’ social networks are constructed around a series of activities, such as agricultural labor, wedding and funeral affairs. The elderly are more involved in these activities and are more likely to meet others and establish and maintain the relationship. [^Back]

    [8]. (1) According to the province distribution surveyed by CFPS, the eastern region includes Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang Fujian, Shandong, Guandong. The central region includes Shanxi, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan. The western region includes Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu. [^Back]

    [9]. (1) Due to space limitations, the results of 2SLS regressions are not listed. The results are on request if necessary. [^Back]

    [10]. (1) Amongst the regression of Rent as the explained variable, OLS estimators may lead to selective bias, since not all farming households are involved in land transfer, and many of them do not have any transfer. Therefore, the Heckman selection model is used to eliminate the selective bias. Due to space limitations, the specific selection equations and the contents of the regression are omitted and, if necessary, can be obtained from the authors. [^Back]

    [11]. (2) Since China has not yet formed a mature rural land market, land transactions are usually limited to the same village between the villagers. Social networks of farming households may play an important role in the process of land transfer. [^Back]

    [12]. (3) He Xiaoqin (2013) found that the aging of agricultural labor would lead to land abandonment and disguised land abandonment phenomenon. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 42-1348/F

Vol , No. 02, Pages 85-97

March 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review and research design
  • 3 Data source, variable selection and statistical description
  • 4 Empirical analysis
  • 5 Extended discussion
  • 6 Conclusion and discussion
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