Guoping Li Xianfeng Zeng Lizhen Zhang


Because it has a large, growing population but only a small share of land that can be cultivated, it is important for China to enhance its agricultural productivity through technological progress. Using data envelopment analysis, we decompose productivity into pure technical efficiency change, scale efficiency change, and technological progress. We thereby find that annual growth of agricultural productivity in China is about 2.2 percent. Technological progress improved agricultural productivity at a rate of 4.2 percent annually from 1980 to 2005, but the technology efficiency dampened it by an average of 1.9 percent per year. TFP growth and technological progress are faster in eastern provinces than for those in central and western regions. Relative technology efficiency was stable in eastern provinces but declined in the central and western provinces during the study period. Thus, it was technological progress that boosted the TFP growth in china’s agriculture. Tests also reveal that sigma convergence existed in Chinese agricultural productivity.