Analyzing Spatiotemporal Changes of Vegetable Production in China

Vegetable productions correlate with rural labor availability, urban population growth, and road density. No significant effects of climate factors were found.

Liangzhi You (IFPRI) co-authored a new paper examining the spatial and temporal changes of vegetable production in China. Published in the Journal of Land Use Science, the study analyzed historical subnational vegetable production statistics data using Gini coefficients, Moran’s Index, and a spatial Durbin model to identify the driving forces of the patterns of vegetable production dynamics. The study found significances in the availability of rural labor, low-grade road density, and urban population growth on vegetable production. Climate factors were insignificant.


Optimizing the distribution of vegetable production requires knowing where vegetables are currently produced and understanding the factors driving structural changes in vegetable production. Revised Gini coefficient and Moran’s Index are used to examine the spatial and temporal changes of vegetable production in China. A spatial Durbin model is applied to investigate the driving forces of these dynamic changes. The results show that: vegetable production in China has become more geographically concentrated in Huang-Huai-Hai region and Yangtze River Basin; Both comparative advantage and New Economic Geography-type mechanisms were drivers of the dynamic changes of vegetable production. Rural labor, road density (low-grade) and urban population growth have significant positive effects on vegetable production, while no significant effects of the climate factors are found. Furthermore, evidence of the existence of the spatial spillover effect was found in vegetable production. More specifically, rural labor and road density (low-grade) have positive externalities on vegetable production in neighboring provinces.

Long Ji, Liangzhi You, Linda See, Steffen Fritz, Chongguang Li, Shenyong Zhang & Gucheng Li (2018) Spatial and temporal changes of vegetable production in China, Journal of Land Use Science, 13:5, 494-507.