Does land titling improve credit access? Quasi-experimental evidence from rural China

Longyao Zhang, Wenli Cheng, Enjiang Cheng, Bi Wu

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Based on official surveys conducted in 2010 and 2015, we study how the Chinese land titling reform beginning in 2009 affected rural households’ access to credit. We find that the reform had differential credit effects across households. For households with above-average economic status (measured by the area of cultivated land, level of income, and convenience of bank visits), access to formal credit improved as a result of the reform. For households with below-average economics status, reliance on informal credit lessened. We show that the availability of land as collateral might have enhanced access to formal credit. Another channel of the credit effects was income and wealth. We find that land titling had a positive impact on average household income, which would reduce their need for informal credit. For those households with above-average area of cultivated land, land titling increased their wealth and might have expanded their operations, which would increase both their credit demand and their ability to access formal credit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • access to credit
  • channels of the credit effects
  • quasi-experiment
  • Rural land titling

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