Land tenure regimes shape how households use labor and other resources to construct livelihoods. Within a given tenure regime, shifting land‐labor relationships over the household life cycle present households with changing trade‐offs. In China, alongside growing market exchange of labor and produce, the legacies of land distribution following decollectivization—in particular, secure access to land and constraints on land transfers—create distinct patterns connecting livelihood strategies to household life cycles. Drawing on a household survey conducted in upland southwest China, we use latent class analysis to identify clusters of households with differing livelihood strategies. With multinomial logistic regression analyses, we evaluate the effects of household demographic composition, household resources, and community human ecological attributes on cluster membership. Households that had recently been established at the time of decollectivization have not divided their holdings. Their large labor and land endowments support diversifying strategies that include relatively large scale farming. Among other households, partitioning has yielded middle‐sized households with diversifying strategies and small households that specialize in on‐farm production or deactivate from agriculture. These clusters vary in labor exchange practices and agricultural input use. Rather than a cyclical pattern, this configuration reflects time‐bound relationships among national tenure institutions, local markets, and household processes.
Rural Sociology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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