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Relationship between land tenure and soil quality: Evidence from China’s soil fertility analysis

Lyu, Kaiyu, Chen, Kevin, Zhang, Huaizhi
Land use policy 2019 v.80 pp. 345-361
agricultural soils, arable soils, economic incentives, land tenure, leasing, phosphorus, potassium, soil fertility, soil quality, China
The paper analyzes the causal relationship between farmers’ renting behavior and arable land quality using unique farmland soil quality test data in China. The paper looks into land quality changes in different places at different time and investigates the robustness of the above relationship using Propensity Score Matching method. The paper finds that the phosphorus and potassium content in rented land is significantly lower than in self-owned land in Heilongjiang provinces, while the soil potassium content in rented land is significantly higher than self-owned land in Zhejiang province. The results show that there is a causal relationship between the increase in land transfer ratio and the change in soil quality. Such relation in turn depends on different investment incentives and extensive application of machinery.