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Abstract

This study applies a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach to analyze total factor productivity, technology, and efficiency changes in Chinese agricultural production from 1984 to 1993. Twenty- nine provinces in China were classified into advanced-technology and low-technology categories. The Malmquist productivity measures were decomposed into two components: technical change index and efficiency change index. The results showed that total factor productivity has risen in most provinces for both technology categories. Technical progress has been the most important factor to Chinese agricultural productivity growth since 1984 and will remain crucial to productivity growth in low-technology provinces. Low efficiency in many important agricultural provinces indicates a great potential for China to increase productivity through improving technical efficiency. Continuously expanding market economy and enhancing rural education may also help farmers to improve technical efficiency and productivity in agricultural production.

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