Persistence of land reallocations in Chinese villages: The role of village democracy and households’ knowledge of policy

Ren, Guangcheng; Zhu, Xueqin; Heerink, Nico; Feng, S.; Ierland, Ekko C. van


Land reallocations have been severely restricted in rural China since 1998. Nevertheless, land continues to be reallocated in some regions. Little is known about the forces behind the persistence of land reallocations. In this paper we argue that village self-governance rules affect the implementation of national laws and regulations, and that the election of village leaders and villagers' knowledge of relevant policies are major forces in the use of village self-governance rules for land reallocations. Estimation results based on primary data collected from 124 villages in four provinces in 2015 and 2016 provide evidence that both village democracy and households’ knowledge of the Rural Land Contract Law (RLCL) positively affect the incidence of land reallocations.