Structural change and agricultural diversification since China’s reforms

Lihua Li, Bill Bellotti, Adam M. Komarek


Structural change is considered the major engine in fostering a country’s growth. In the agricultural sector, diversification is the commonly used development strategy to increase rural sector’s flexibility, and to respond to improving technologies and market conditions. This study examined agricultural development and transformation during China’s socio-economic reforms. In particular, it empirically investigated whether the change of China’s agricultural structure is consistent with structural change theory and observed outcomes from other countries. The degree of agricultural diversification was quantitatively measured at a regional scale using the Herfindahl index. An underdeveloped province in northwest China was studied to provide insights into the interaction among structural change, agricultural diversification, and implemented development policies. Aggregate-level analyses suggest that China’s agricultural transformation pattern is consistent with those of other developing countries. A specific provincial-level analysis shows that environmentally and economically disadvantaged regions are slower to diversify their economy than better endorsed regions.


structural change; growth; agriculture diversification; China

Full Text:



Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY- 4.0)

Firenze University Press
Via Cittadella, 7 - 50144 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712