Journal of Public Affairs and Development


The household contract responsibility system which was the land reform policy from 1978 to 2008 in China revealed shortcomings in terms of its goals. This system veers away from the commune system (1958 -1978) and endows land use and management responsibility to households. The New Rural Land Reform Policy that started in 2008 aims to create a more market led policy and it captured adjustments to correct these shortcomings. This New Rural Land Reform Policy signals a significant policy change. This paper uses Lewin's change theory as a framework and Henan province in China as a case to determine the perceived socio-economic impacts of China's new rural land reform policy. Both quantitative data through farmer survey and qualitative data from focus group discussions and key informant interviews among community members were gathered to explain the perceived impacts of the new policy. Both economic and social variables were investigated. The paper reports on the results of respondents' perceptions regarding both the potential economic i.e., willingness to rent out land and other uses of land and social i.e., social structure, organizational development, community development impacts of the newly minted set of policies, which aims to improve the 1978 land reform policy. Results show that there remain challenges to contend with such as confirming ownership and contract and management rights for the new policy to be effective. Suggestions are advanced to solve these difficulties.



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