Alternatives or status quo? Improving fallow compensation policy in heavy metal polluted regions in Chaling County, China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-297
Journal / PublicationJournal of Cleaner Production
Online published31 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2019


China's fallow compensation policy is known to be relatively simple and unsophisticated, and in much need of improvement. In seeking such improvement, this paper designed some alternative compensation schemes that include recultivation insurance, priority right of participation in the fallowing work or free agricultural inputs, but lower income subsidy, and reported on a choice experiment of alternatives with 421 peasant-farming households in Chaling County, Hunan Province – a fallow area of heavy-metal-contaminated farmland. A mixed logit model was used to compare the choices made between pilot and non-pilot villages, and the influencing factors involved. The results showed that most farmers preferred the alternative compensation schemes to the current policy, and income subsidy was not the only factor affecting their choices, which indicated recultivation insurance and a longer period of free agricultural inputs were also important. However, the preferences differed between pilot and non-pilot village farmers, in which the pilot village farmers were more willing to accept less income subsidy in favor of increased recultivation insurance and an extended period of free agricultural inputs. By contrast, non-pilot village farmers preferred to adopt an alternative compensation scheme with a priority right of participation in the fallowing work and high level of income subsidy. The possible reason for the differences was that the publicity and training activities provided by the government had changed the preferences of pilot village farmers. Generally, the effects of various forms of economic compensation and single cash payment were different about fallow compensation policy, and the preferences of farmers from different backgrounds might also vary from person to person. Different regions needed to design the fallow compensation policy according to practical problems in the use of farmland and farmers' preferences.

Research Area(s)

  • Choice experiment, Economic compensation, Farmers' preferences, Heavy-metal-contaminated farmland, Land fallowing, Land use policy

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