This study was one of the stage achievements of the National Social Science Fund Project "Transform the agricultural development mode: a perspective of preferential migration of labor"(08BJL012), led by Professor Guo Jianxiong, Shaanxi Normal University.
The transfer of the China's agricultural labor force shows obvious selectivity, that is, the transfer of non-agricultural labor force generally has the characteristics of young, masculine and high human capital levels. Thus resulting in the following problems: firstly, how will the prospect of Chinese agricultural practitioners be like? Namely, in the next few decades or even longer, will the Chinese agricultural production only be done by the vulnerable labors filtered out from the industrialization and urbanization? Secondly, if aging, feminine, and the low human capital compose the basic pattern of current and future agricultural labor groups, then as the most populous country, whether can China's food security problems be guaranteed? How to guarantee? Finally, if the future of the agricultural practitioners turns out to be as the former case, could China's agricultural modernization be achieved? How to achieve it? In a word, against the backdrop that the selective transfer of labor changes the quality of agricultural practitioners, how can we judge the prospects of agricultural development in China?
Suppose that human capital accumulation of the rural households is exogenous in the labor selective transfer process and remains unchanged, when the non-agricultural sector has a high technical barriers to entry, the selective transfer of the agricultural labor force will produce a multiple "polarization" effect which would be not conducive to agricultural development: One is the differentiation of the two sectors of the labor force quality. Higher level of human capital labor will be absorbed by non-agricultural sector with high wage rates, and low human capital labor will be selectively eliminated to the agricultural sector. The second is the differentiation between the two sectors selected by technology type, which will finally result in a skill-biased technique-based non-agricultural sector and a non-skill-biased technique-based agricultural sector. The third is the differentiation in pace and levels of development of the two sectors. The optimal combination of high-quality labor force and skill–biased technique forms the speeding-up developed non-agricultural sector while the configuration of low-skilled labor and non-skill-biased technique makes the agricultural sector can’t compete with non-agricultural industry in development power and speed, the gap is bound to expand between these two departments.