Perceptions of Land Tenure Security in Rural China: The Impact of Land Reallocations and Certification

Guangcheng Ren, Xueqin Zhu, Nico Heerink, Shuyi Feng*, Ekko van Ierland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Tenure security is commonly recognized as an important factor in stimulating long-term investments in land. Recent studies suggest that a distinction between legal, actual and perceived tenure security needs to be made in analyzing tenure security. This study discusses the relationships between legal, actual and perceived land tenure security in rural China, and empirically examines the impact of actual on perceived land tenure security by applying Probit models to household and village survey data collected in four provinces. Using household expectations about the absence of land reallocations within the next five years as the dependent variable, we find that tenure security is positively affected by the possession of land certificates in villages that periodically reallocated land but not in villages that did not do so. The estimated impact is larger for land certificates issued in the new round of land certification than for land certificates that were issued earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1415
JournalSociety & Natural Resources
Issue number12
Early online date9 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Household perceptions
  • land certificates
  • land tenure security
  • probit model
  • rural China


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