Forest Tenure Reform in China: A Choice Experiment on Farmers’ Property Rights Preferences

Ping Qin, Fredrik Carlsson and Jintao Xu


Decentralization experiments are currently underway in the Chinese forestry sector. However, researchers and policy makers tend to ignore a key question: what do forest farmers really want from reform? This paper addresses this question using a survey-based choice experiment to investigate farmers’ preferences for various property rights attributes of a forestland contract. We found that farmers are highly concerned with the types of rights provided by a contract. Reducing perceived risks of contract termination and introducing a priority right for the renewal of an existing contract significantly increases farmers’ marginal willingness to pay for a forest contract. (JEL Q51, Q58)

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