The Intensification of Agricultural Production

  • Bozhong Li
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


In traditional agriculture, one of the major ways to increase production is to raise production intensity, usually through increasing labour input or capital input or both per unit of cultivated land. The intensification of farming is not equal to the involution of farming. Intensification can result in a rise in productivity, either of land or of labour; however, involution can also result in a rise in land productivity but only at the cost of falling labour productivity. In early modern Western Europe, though there were significant technological improvements, they were minor elements in the raising of output when compared with the large increase resulting from more labour (Boserup, 1981: 116). In short, the development was mainly based on the intensification of farming. As in East Asia, as we will see in Chapter 9, where rice culture tends to be more labour-intensive, in most cases the intensification of farming helps the increase in labour productivity if looked at from a long-term historical perspective. Therefore, we must not mix up the two different matters.


Rice Production Labour Input Fertilizer Input Capital Input Mulberry Tree 
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Copyright information

© Bozhong Li 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bozhong Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EconomicsChinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina

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