Resources Science ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (8): 1505-1514.doi: 10.18402/resci.2018.08.02

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effects of off-farm employment on forestland transfer: the MV Tobit estimation with endogeneity perspectives

Han ZHANG1(), Hongqiang YANG2, Haibin CHEN1, Jing LIU1, Shilei XU1, Hao LIU3, Can LIU1,3()   

  1. 1. College of Economics and Management, Northwest A & F University, Yangling 712100, China
    2. College of Economics and Management, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
    3. Economic and Development Research Center, State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100714, China
  • Received:2017-10-08 Revised:2018-04-07 Online:2018-08-25 Published:2018-08-10


After the new round of collective forest tenure reform, the forestland transactions seem still inactive in China, which is not as expected as policymakers. Under this background, it is crucial to understand what are the factors that determine farmers’ behavior of forestland transfer. To investigate whether off-farm employment hinders forestland transfer, we established a household decision model, where the forestland transfer decision and off-farm employment decision are endogenous. Then the empirical analysis is performed based on a household survey dataset, which involves 1497 households from 9 provinces in China. This dataset is collected by the State Forestry Administration and is ranged from 2003 to 2013. Given the endogeneity of farmers’ decision-making process, the off-farm employment should be regarded as an endogenous variable. Meanwhile, the fact that the majority of households didn’t transfer their forestland implies that the explained variable is censored. Hence, the multivariate Tobit approach is applied to deal with the endogeneity and censoring issues. The results show that off-farm employment has a significantly negative effect on forestland rent-in, while the effect on rent-out is insignificant. This insignificance might be owing to the long-period feature of forestland transfer contracts and the role of forestland on household livelihood. For rural farmers, forestlands are considered to be a “safety net” once they lose their employments in off-farm sector. Moreover, transaction cost is an important factor that influence the decision of forestland transfer. That is, the variable of transaction cost imposes a negative effect on both rent-in and rent-out at the 1% statistical level. Besides, off-farm wage rate, timber prices, forestland area, forestland fragmentation, and the amount of household members also have significant effects on behaviors of forestland transfer. Their effects are opposite with regard to rent-in and rent-out behaviors. These findings will facilitate policymakers to understand what factors determine forestland transfer, and will provide beneficial suggestions in the following-up reform.

Key words: forestland transfer, off-farm employment, collective forest tenure reform, endogenous household decision model, influence factors, Multivariate Tobit