China’s agricultural reform has veered between different goals with a variety of policy instruments employed, resulting in the creation of a complex of market institutions and a cyclical growth pattern. The existing literature usually focuses on the decisive role of economic institutions in these reforms but China’s economic transition was marked by frequent political interventions. Its agricultural growth was even achieved under strict governmental control. This book will relax the hypothesis of “perfect market conditions” to seek to explain agricultural growth and technological change under complex market institutions in post-Mao China. The first half of this book explores the formation of those market institutions in China’s post-1979 agricultural transition. Through an empirical study of the evolution of agricultural policies it is shown that China’s post-1979 agricultural reform is not a market-oriented but rather a state-oriented agricultural transition by means of a pricing system reform. The second half of the book offers a microeconomic perspective through an empirical study of rice production in Northeast China and the Southeast coastal region of the Yangzi Delta. The results of this study suggest that market structure determines the nature of the technological gap and production difference between areas. Through these empirical analyses of post-Mao Chinese agricultural growth, this book encourages readers to re-think the nature of Chinese Economy in the past fifty years.
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