PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (9): 1067-1074.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.09.007

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Agricultural Land Use Responses to Increasing Labor Opportunity Cost in Suixian County of Henan Province

CHEN Yuqi1, LI Xiubin1, ZHU Huiyi1, ZHANG Wen1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Gradate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2010-01-01 Revised:2010-05-01 Online:2010-09-25 Published:2010-09-25


Increasing labor opportunity cost has become one of the most important influencing factors for agricultural land use changes. Based on 328 household survey data in Suixian County, Henan Province, this paper analyzed the types of labor employment and non-agricultural work time and wages, and then calculated the labor opportunity cost by using different labor types’ chances of getting non-agricultural job as the correction factor to amend wages. It was found that labor opportunity cost significantly affected land use practices of rural households. Households with higher labor opportunity cost always have higher nonfarm income. They are less dependent on agricultural production and more likely to lease their cultivated land to other farmers. These farmers are also inclined to grow food craps which need less labor inputs but have higher labor productivity. This results in homogenization of regional land use structure in terms of crop types. As to land use intensity, along with the increase of labor opportunity cost, labor intensity and yield -increasing inputs in agriculture decrease rapidly, while labor-saving inputs show an increasing trend. The households with larger labor opportunity cost are willing to increase machinery inputs as a substitute for labor inputs. Because of the reduction of yield-increasing inputs, the households with larger labor opportunity cost have lower grain yield per area

Key words: capital intensity, crop structure, labor intensity, labor opportunity cost, Suixian County