Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (12): 1481-1498.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1448-7

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impacts and effects of government regulation on farmers’ responses to drought: A case study of North China Plain

Xiaoyun LI1,2,3(), Yu YANG1,2,3,*(), Yi LIU1,2,3,*(), Hui LIU1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-02-09 Accepted:2017-03-07 Online:2017-12-10 Published:2017-12-10
  • Contact: Yu YANG,Yi LIU;;
  • About author:

    Author: Li Xiaoyun (1987-), PhD, specialized in man-land relationship and regional development. E-mail:;

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41430636, No.41590841;National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program), No.2012CB95570001


Frequent extreme weather events like drought, etc. in the context of climate change present huge challenges to agricultural production. To find out if farmers have taken measures against them and identify governments’ impact on their response measures are the foundation of and key to further improving relevant policies and farmers’ responsiveness. Taking the North China Plain as an example, the study analyzes farmers’ responses to frequent climate change-induced drought, and assesses the impacts of governments’ early- warning, policy support and other factors on farmers’ responses based on questionnaire survey data and an econometric approach. The results show that: (1) Farmers are responsive to drought, and they are more likely to take measures as the degree of drought deepening. (2) Governments’ regulation affects farmers’ responses, although only part of its regulation measures has remarkable effects. Governments’ early-warning messages can increase the possibility of farmers’ responding to drought, however, only when they get the early-warning in all the processes including before, during, and after disasters can the effects be significant. Currently, as the primary channel through which early-warning information is released, television cannot change farmers’ behaviors significantly. Early-warning is most effective when spread via two or more types of channels. In addition, governments’ (especially town and village level institutions’) policy support has certain impacts on farmers’ responses to drought, yet with less prominent effects in disaster years than in normal years; to provide subsidies, as a regulation measure, can encourage farmers’ initiative a lot in adopting response measures, but most of the farmers haven’t got support from any institutions. Both the structure and strength of government regulation need to be improved. (3) Farmers with different conditions respond differently. Farmer households in irrigation areas, those whose farmland is lower fragmented, and those with numerous agricultural family members tend to take response measures. The study can provide scientific reference to the making of relevant regulation policies under the background of acidifications.

Key words: government regulation, drought, farmer households, response behaviors, North China Plain