Resources Science ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (2): 269-279.doi: 10.18402/resci.2021.02.06

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Influence of social network on grassland renting behaviors of herdsmen: A case study in four villages of Menyuan County, Qinghai Province

QIAN Chen1(), SHAO Liqun1, WANG Shuai2, ZHANG Hui1, CHEN Haibin1()   

  1. 1. College of Economics and Management, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
    2. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2020-03-16 Revised:2020-05-30 Online:2021-02-25 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: CHEN Haibin;


Grassland rental market is the main way of grassland transfer in pastoral areas of China. It is of great significance to explore the factors that affect the grassland renting behavior of herdsmen and to improve the grassland rental market for maintaining the ecological balance of grasslands, increasing the income of herdsmen, and promoting the prosperity and stability of pastoral areas. This study is to empirically test the influence of social network on the tendency and intensity of grassland renting of herdsmen, by constructing the social network of herdsmen and replacing traditional social capital indicators with two structural indicators of social network, i.e., strong ties and weak ties, based on a field survey in four villages of Menyuan County, Qinghai Province. A Heckman model was built and estimated. The results show that: (1) Strong ties, which are built on consanguinity, geographical proximity, and kinship and are the invisible force behind rule compliance, significantly increase grassland renting tendency and intensity on the part of the herdsmen; (2) Weak ties, which reflect the power and social status of herdsmen in the village, could help to transmit non-redundant and heterogeneous information efficiently and to break down the invisible barriers and access restrictions in the grassland rental market, also significantly increase grassland renting tendency and intensity of herdsmen. The study concludes that the government should actively cultivate specialized herdsmen cooperatives and animal husbandry enterprises, hold various traditional ethnic cultural activities routinely, hence create a social environment of trust and reciprocity in local communities, so as to give full play to the positive role of social network in developing grassland rental market and revitalizing rural pastoral areas.

Key words: social network, grassland renting, strong ties, weak ties, Heckman model, Qinghai Province