Decisions by Chinese households regarding renting in arable land—The impact of tenure security perceptions and trust

Ma, Xianlei; Heerink, Nico; Ierland, Ekko van; Lang, Hairu; Shi, Xiaoping


Policies aimed at strengthening tenure security through the elimination of land reallocations and provision of land certificates have been implemented with different degrees of success in rural China. In this study, we examine the impact of tenure security perceptions and trust on household decisions to rent in land in a region where tenure security is high and in a region where households face much lower land tenure security. Our regression results suggest that when land tenure is less secure, household perceptions of tenure security positively affect decisions to rent in additional land and the size of the rented land, whereas trust is important for the choice between oral and written contracts. When land tenure is relatively secure, household tenure security perceptions are less relevant, and trust becomes more important for land rental decisions. However, tenure security perceptions do seem to play a role in the choice between oral and written contracts in such high tenure security environments.