Analyzing agricultural agglomeration in China

Erling Li, Ken Coates, Xiaojian Li, Xinyue Ye, Mark Leipnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


There has been little scholarly research on Chinese agriculture's geographic pattern of agglomeration and its evolutionary mechanisms, which are essential to sustainable development in China. By calculating the barycenter coordinates, the Gini coefficient, spatial autocorrelation and specialization indices for 11 crops during 1981-2012, we analyze the evolutionary pattern and mechanisms of agricultural agglomeration. We argue that the degree of spatial concentration of Chinese planting has been gradually increasing and that regional specialization and diversification have progressively been strengthened. Furthermore, Chinese crop production is moving from the eastern provinces to the central and western provinces. This is in contrast to Chinese manufacturing growth which has continued to be concentrated in the coastal and southeastern regions. In Northeast China, the Sanjiang and Songnen plains have become agricultural clustering regions, and the earlier domination of aquaculture and rice production in Southeast China has gradually decreased. In summary, this paper provides a political economy framework for understanding the regionalization of Chinese agriculture, focusing on the interaction among the objectives, decision-making behavior, path dependencies and spatial effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number313
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Agricultural clusters
  • Agricultural evolution
  • China
  • Geographical agglomeration
  • Spatial analysis


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