Publications by authors named "Houjian Li"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The role of crop insurance in reducing pesticide use: Evidence from rice farmers in China.

J Environ Manage 2022 Jan 11;306:114456. Epub 2022 Jan 11.

College of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 611130, China. Electronic address:

Pesticides play a significant role in increasing agricultural yields. However, the overuse of chemical pesticides on crops is a major challenge faced by China, which damages human health, threatens food security, and increases production costs. This paper provides empirical evidence on the relationship between crop insurance and pesticide use. Based on micro-survey data collected from 3410 households, we estimate a control function (CF) approach and find that farmers who purchase crop insurance use 33.30% lower pesticides than those who do not. A series of robustness tests confirm these findings. The results of the moderating effect analysis suggest that rice cultivation training, experience, schooling years, and agricultural laborers can negatively moderate the effect of crop insurance on pesticide use. Furthermore, we also find that the treatment effect of crop insurance is stronger for farmers who are most inclined to purchase crop insurance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114456DOI Listing
January 2022

Heterogeneous Driving Factors of Carbon Emissions Embedded in China's Export: An Application of the LASSO Model.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 10 3;18(19). Epub 2021 Oct 3.

College of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China.

With the steady growth of emissions embedded in trade, the driving forces of emissions have attracted extensive attention. Most of the literature has verified a bundle of the influential factors; however, further analyses are necessary to understand the predominant and heterogeneous driving factors in different economies and/or industries. Accordingly, by applying the multiregional input-output (MRIO) model, this article firstly evaluates the embodied carbon emissions of China's export from 1992 to 2020 in total volumes and by 14 industries. Then, the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) estimations allow us to discover that urbanization, technology update and gross domestic product (GDP) are the leading three prioritizing factors in generating China's export emissions. Interestingly, this paper discovers that raising the proportion of female parliamentarians contributes to an abatement of emissions. Furthermore, the empirical results suggest that the heterogeneities of those factors do exist among industries. For example, the percentage of females in parliaments turns out to have a larger effect among labor-intensive industries only. In facing with rapid globalization and economic development of China, this paper provides important policy implications towards specific industries in terms of mitigating trade emissions. It guides policy-makers to achieve "carbon neutrality" by avoiding carbon leakage in net-export countries such as China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910423DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8508337PMC
October 2021

Effect of agricultural subsidies on the use of chemical fertilizer.

J Environ Manage 2021 Dec 27;299:113621. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

College of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Wenjiang District, 611130, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Electronic address:

Agricultural subsidies lead to changes in the use of chemical fertilizer by farmers. Using data from a household survey conducted annually by the Rural Economy Research Center of the Ministry of Agriculture of China from 2014 to 2018, Control Function (CF) approach and Heteroskedasticity-based identification strategy were employed to analyze the impact of agricultural subsidies on chemical fertilizer use by rice farmers. After addressing the problem of endogeneity, we found that agricultural subsidies have a significantly negative impact on the use of chemical fertilizer. Precisely, every 100% increase in agricultural subsidies would result in an average decrease of 3.4% in chemical fertilizer use. In addition, results of heterogeneity analysis showed that agricultural subsidies had a stronger negative impact on fertilizer use as rice-planting experience increases. But the ability of rice-planting management and off-farm labor within household could reduce this negative impact. We also found that the effect of arable land productivity conservation subsidies policy was short-lived. Furthermore, based on the frame of structural equation model (SEM), the results of mediation analysis showed that agricultural machine and rice-planting area had partial mediation of 5.3% and 41%, respectively. It implied that agricultural subsidies reduced fertilizer use by promoting the adoption of agricultural techniques and expanding the planting area. In brief, agricultural subsidies had both technical effect and scale effect. But the mediating effect of household income was not significant. This study is intended to assist the concerned authority and agriculture sector to understand the positive role of agricultural subsidies in sustainable production, and provides some feasible policy proposals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113621DOI Listing
December 2021

Study on the impact of environmental pollution on farmland abandonment.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2022 Jan 5;29(1):1458-1469. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

School of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 611130, China.

Farmland abandonment, as a manifestation of the low efficiency of the rural economy, has a profound impact on the process of agricultural and rural modernization. This study uses the 2016 China Labor Force Dynamic Survey data based on 8116 samples from 104 cities, constructs the Tobit model and IV Tobit model to analyze the land abandonment quantitatively from the perspective of environmental pollution. The results show that (1) environmental pollution can significantly increase the probability and area of land abandonment, (2) there is significant regional heterogeneity in the impact of environmental pollution on land abandonment, (3) the impact of environmental pollution on land abandonment varies significantly with different family sizes and land management scales, but the land management scale is relatively more sensitive. This study provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between environmental pollution and land abandonment in China and provides a basis for formulating relevant policies to strengthen the treatment of environmental pollution to solve the dilemma of land abandonment, which is of great practical significance to sustainable development of rural economy and the guarantee of food security in China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-15652-1DOI Listing
January 2022

Effects of haze pollution on pesticide use by rice farmers: fresh evidence from rural areas of China.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Nov 2;28(44):62755-62770. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

College of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 611130, China.

Recently, severe haze pollution has not only threatened human health and food security, but also seems to have aggravated the unscientific use of pesticides by rice farmers in rural areas of China. Using original data on haze pollution across China, combined with rural household survey data collected from 2014 to 2018, we conducted a detailed empirical study on the effects of haze pollution on pesticide use by rice farmers based on the theory of risk aversion. The empirical results revealed that haze pollution with higher levels of PM positively impacted the use of chemical pesticides in rice cultivation. More precisely, with each 100% increase in PM concentrations, the use of pesticide per mu increased by 7.9%, and the average pesticide cost per mu increased by 2.3%. The results were robust to a series of tests that addressed potential endogeneity concerns, including omitted variable bias, measurement error, and reverse causality. We then examined the heterogeneous effects of haze pollution increases on the use of chemical pesticides and found that for rice farmers without rice insurance, haze pollution has a stronger effect on pesticide use and a weaker effect on pesticide cost. However, for rice farmers with more experience in rice cultivation and small-scale rice planting, the effect of haze pollution on pesticide use and cost is relatively small. Our findings provide important policy implications for pesticide risk management in rural areas of developing countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-15133-5DOI Listing
November 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the air quality in China: Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment.

J Clean Prod 2021 May 23;296:126475. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

School of Law, Chongqing University, Shazheng Street, Shapingba District, 40044, Chongqing City, China.

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in early 2020 posed a significant threat to people's health and economic sustainability in China and worldwide. This study investigated whether the lockdown measures precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic affected air pollutants in the short term. Moreover, we investigated the impact of the heterogeneity of cities and regions. Using city-level daily panel data for the 2018-2020 lunar calendar, we employed a two-way fixed effects model and interrupted time-series analysis to inspect the effects of the lockdown measures. Interesting empirical findings emerged from our analysis. First, compared with the base period from 2018 to 2019, the COVID-19 lockdown measures significantly reduced air pollutants. In 2020, compared to 2018, PM and SO dropped by 15.28 μg/m and 6.55 μg/m, and compared to 2019, PM, PM, and SO declined by 7.4 μg/m, 19.34 μg/m, and 1.41 μg/m, respectively. Second, our dynamic analysis showed that as more time elapsed since the start of the lockdown, the associated reduction in air pollution became more significant. Third, the proportion of secondary industries and the cumulative number of confirmed cases had a considerable heterogeneity impact on lockdown measures. Policymakers should encourage investment in new infrastructure and initiatives to boost efficiency and enhance environmental outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.126475DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8020570PMC
May 2021

Estimating effects of cooperative membership on farmers' safe production behaviors: evidence from the rice sector in China.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 May 18;28(20):25400-25418. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

College of Economics, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, 430074, Hubei Province, China.

The current agricultural system in China highly depends on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Consequently, agricultural production activities cause various environmental issues. Carrying out safe production provides vital support for sustainable development of agriculture, which may improve this situation. The past decades have witnessed the fast development of rural cooperatives organization in China. Given the fact that rural cooperative organization plays a crucial role in agricultural production, however, there is little empirical evidence on the relationship between cooperative membership and safe production of smallholders in China. This study aims to investigate whether the participation in farmer cooperatives contributes to safe production in agriculture in China. Using survey data covering 623 rice-producing farm households in Sichuan province in China, this study employs the endogenous switching regression model to examine the effects of the participation in farmer cooperatives on safe production in rice agriculture. The results show that cooperative membership has significantly positive effects on safe production in rice agriculture. In particular, the average treatment effects demonstrate that without the participation in cooperatives, the members' adoption of the green control techniques would reduce by 74.491%, the application of artificial weeding would reduce by 38.768%, and organic fertilizer input would reduce by 23.448%. Furthermore, the marginal treatment effect is employed to evaluate the heterogeneous effects of the participation in farmer cooperatives on safe production in rice agriculture. Heterogeneous effect analyses suggest that farmers who are more likely to participate in farmer cooperatives are easier to adopt green control technology, while farmers who are less likely to participate in farmer cooperatives are easier to adopt artificial weeding and increase organic fertilizer input. To improve safe production in rice agriculture, the Chinese government is expected to encourage rice farmers to participate in rural cooperative organizations, and to stimulate rice farmers to take collective action to address environment issues arising from agricultural production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-12337-zDOI Listing
May 2021

Triple-hurdle model analysis of the factors influencing biogas digester building, use and processing by Chinese pig farmers.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Mar 9;761:143259. Epub 2020 Nov 9.

College of Management, Sichuan Agricultural University, 611130 Chengdu, China. Electronic address:

Because of the pollution associated with pig manure, pig farmers are being encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly manure management solutions such as biogas digesters. However, as the correlations and influencing factors associated with the different manure disposal stages remain unclear, these solutions have failed to positively change farmer disposal behaviors. Therefore, this paper constructed a triple-hurdle model to empirically analyze the pig farmer manure disposal behaviors and the associated relationships under the belief that the three stage biogas digester decisions were driven by structurally different processes. This paper adds to the literature in three ways: (1) it provides a dynamic framework that identifies pig farmer manure disposal behaviors; (2) it applies a recently developed econometric method that corrects for conditional correlations between error terms; and (3) proves that certain factors might have opposite impacts in different behavior stages. It was found that cultivated land area and farm income ratio had statistically significant positive impacts on biogas digesters construction behavior but a negative influence on the farmers' use of the biogas digesters. Farmers who joined a cooperative were found to be statistically more likely to be biogas digester users, and the unconditional expected share of the actual treated manure was significantly higher. This study can assist policymakers in formulating and implementing strategies to encourage greater biogas digestor use by pig farmers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143259DOI Listing
March 2021

Looking back over the past two decades on the nexus between air pollution, energy consumption, and agricultural productivity in China: a qualitative analysis based on the ARDL bounds testing model.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Apr 6;27(12):13575-13589. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

College of Economics and Management, Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University, Yangling, Xianyang, China.

Increasing population and food demand has led to steadily declining resources as a result of over-exploitation and fossil fuel consumption that cause air contamination and reduce soil fertility. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the correlation between air pollution, energy consumption, and the contribution of agriculture to national GDP. Secondary study data covering two decades were collected from different sources, and an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) bounds testing model was employed to determine long-run and short-run correlations. First, the unit root test was used to determine the stationarity of variables, and results showed that variables were integrated at level, ARDL co-integration equation estimation, which rejected the null hypothesis at less than 5% significance level. Further, based on the results of the ARDL bounds testing model, F-statistic values exceeded the upper bound value. This entire model was adjusted at a speed of -2.364 towards long-run equilibrium. In addition, CUSUM test and CUSUMSQ test results confirmed the goodness of fit of this model. In light of the resulting policy implications, the Chinese government may consider measures to improve the agricultural industry to meet the food demand for the fast-growing population while maintaining a healthy environment and safeguarding the available limited resources for future generations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-07501-zDOI Listing
April 2020
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