2020 Volume 8 Issue 4 Pages 38-57
Since the reform and opening-up of China, the nation’s rural development has been accompanied by a series of land reform policies, largely concerning agricultural land, homestead land and rural construction land. Have rural land reform policies achieved their original objectives and contributed to the socio-economic and spatial development of rural China? To answer these questions, this paper examines the case of Qidu Town of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province and conducts a three-step analysis of the effectiveness of both national- and local-level rural land reform policies. It first reviews the policies to clarify their economic, social and spatial objectives. It then quantitatively analyses the economic, social and spatial performance of these policies in Qidu Town since 1998; this analysis is performed with economic, social and land-use data and quantitative-analysis methods. Finally, it assesses the policies’ effectiveness by comparing their objectives with the results of the quantitative analyses. It concludes that at both the national and local levels, the effectiveness of land reform policies has varied across different periods, across different measures, and between one another. The reason for this variation rests predominantly on the attitudes of the affected villages and villagers. By taking the town, China’s basic administrative unit, as the research object and bringing spatial performance into policy effectiveness, this research seeks to develop a methodology for objective and accurate assessments of the effectiveness of rural land reform policies.