Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (6): 783-792.doi: 10.11821/xb201206006

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Development of Specialized Villages in Various Environments of Less Developed China

LI Xiaojian1,3, ZHOU Xiongfei2, ZHENG Chunhui1, Scott ROZELLE4   

  1. 1. Department of Resourses and Enviroment, Henan University of Economics and Law, Zhengzhou 450002, China;
    2. Institute of Economics, Henan University of Economics and Law, Zhengzhou 450002, China;
    3. Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, Henan, China;
    4. Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA
  • Received:2011-11-15 Revised:2012-03-12 Online:2012-06-20 Published:2012-08-13
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071082

Abstract: Theoretical framework on formation of specialized villages was proposed by using rational small household, division of labour and specialization and distance decay and neighbourhood affect theories. These theories from economics and geography determined the formation of specialized villages, but the types of the specialization are related to resources endeavor and environmental conditions of the villages. The paper illustrates the change of the economic structure of villages by applying mathematical models, stating that various geographical conditions surrounding a village leads to different marginal production efficiency, therefore forming specified production structure. If a village's environment proves suitable for certain production or service, then a relevant type of specialized village may emerge. Based on theoretical analysis, we use the census data of specialized villages in Henan Province in 2010, applying dummy variables representing 16 types of specialized villages, and selecting environmental variables such as landform, location, arable land area and labour force from a spatial database from government authorities. The regression results from the OLS models indicate a significant impact of village environmental conditions on village specialization: (1) more labour force leads to lower specialization; (2) abundant arable land benefits specialization; (3) the closer location to its county site results in higher probability of specialization on agricultural processing industry; (4) existence of a wholesale market may increase specialization on relevant villages, especially for agricultural processing and animal husbandry industries; (5) the villages located in hilly terrain show less probability on specialization than others, mainly caused by difficulties in transportation and shortage in arable land; while mountainous environment provides resources for the development of specialization. Results from qualitative models indicate diverse environmental impact in different types of specialized villages. Positive impacts of land availability are observed in tea plantation, tree nursery and fruit farm. Labour force assists the formation of labour intensive production such as floristry. Accessibility benefits specialization in fruit, vegetable production and floristry. Results of this study can be applied to policy making for guidance of specialization under various environmental conditions.

Key words: specialized villages, rural specialization, rural development, environmental condition, Henan