NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jian Zhang

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Working Papers

July 2011Chemical Fertilizer and Migration in China
with Avraham Ebenstein, Margaret S. McMillan, Kevin Chen: w17245
This paper examines a possible connection between China’s massive rural to urban migration and high chemical fertilizer use rates during the late 1980s and 1990s. Using panel data on villages in rural China (1987-2002), we find that labor out-migration and fertilizer use per hectare are positively correlated. Using 2SLS, employing the opening of a Special Economic Zone in a nearby city as an instrument, we find that village fertilizer use is linked to contemporaneous short-term out-migration of farm workers. We also examine the long-term environmental consequences of chemical fertilizer use during this period. Using OLS, we find that fertilizer use intensity is correlated with future fertilizer use rates and diminished effectiveness of fertilizer, demonstrating persistency in use patterns,...

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