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Staff Paper No. 395 - Abstract

Dimensions and Diversity of Property Rights in Rural China: Dilemmas on the Road to Further Reform

Shouying Liu
Michael R. Carter [mrcarter@wisc.edu]
Yang Yao

Staff Paper No. 395, February 1997, 37p.


This paper contributes to the debate over land tenure in rural China by conceptualizing and measuring multiple dimensions of property rights in a way which elucidates the competing interests which are affected by the property rights regime. Utilizing a unique village level data set on property rights, this paper argues that the regional and temporal variation in rural property rights signals a pattern in which decentralized institutional innovation occurs in response to the competing interests of the national state, of local authorities, and of present and possible future individual land users. Unlike the earlier debate concerning the household responsibility system, the current property rights dilemma is intrinsically more complex because the potential conflicts of interest between individuals, local collectives and the state are greater. Resolution of that debate will ultimately require careful exploration of the reality and substance of the tradeoffs and competing interests which make further reform of rural property rights so difficult.
Last updated on Thu, Jun 2, 2005 11:39am