Land (Jul 2022)

The Causal Pathway of Rural Human Settlement, Livelihood Capital, and Agricultural Land Transfer Decision-Making: Is It Regional Consistency?

  • Weiwen Wang,
  • Jian Gong,
  • Ying Wang,
  • Yang Shen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 7
p. 1077


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Despite the increasing interest in understanding the mechanism of household livelihood decisions to increase household livelihood welfare, the combined role of livelihood capitals and human settlements in livelihood decisions is unclear. Therefore, in this paper we carried out extensive empirical research to explore the causal pathway between human settlements (including infrastructure, public services, and social governance) and livelihood capitals (including human, natural, physical, financial, and social capitals) on agricultural land transfer, taking employment choices as an intermediary factor. On this basis, this study analyzed the regional differences in the decision-making mechanisms of agricultural land transfer behaviors in eastern, central, and western regions of China through a multi-group structural equation model. The results demonstrated that capital accumulation can directly increase the possibility of agricultural land inflow (β = 0.130, p p < 0.01). The improvement in human settlement promotes the agricultural land inflow (outside the western region) and indirectly enhances the willingness to enter into agriculture. The employment choices play a significant mediating role by strengthening the livelihood capitals and weakening human settlements. To achieve the intense agricultural development and sustainable development of rural areas, the improvement of both rural human settlements and household livelihood capitals should be considered.