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Lecturer Liu Zhen published a number of papers in SCI, SSCI

Ahmad Romadhoni Surya Putra, Zhen Liu *, Mogens Lund (2016) The Impact of Biogas Technology Adoption for Farm Households - Empirical Evidence from Mixed Crop and Livestock Farming Systems in Indonesia. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews(SCI)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.11.164In Press available on line 2 Dec 2016 

This paper aims to study the impact of biogas technology adoption as a livestock waste technology to support Mixed Crop and Livestock (MCL) farming among smallholder farmers in Indonesia. A cross sectional survey was conducted to collect data from 351 farmers (171 biogas adopters and 180 non-adopters) farm households in the province of Yogyakarta. The study employed treatment effects analysis based on propensity score matching techniques to evaluate the impacts of biogas technology adoption among farm households. The results show that the adoption of the biogas technology reduces firewood consumption of smallholder farmer households in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the impact on the use of slurry for organic fertilizers and the use of gas (Liquid Petroleum Gas, LPG) as another household cooking energy could not be evaluated. This study empirically shows that the benefits of the biogas technology have not yet been optimized at the household level which may partly explain the slow rate of biogas technology diffusion among farmers. However, the consumption reduction of firewood as a benefit of using biogas contributes to the behavioral changes of the women in the households especially on firewood collection and cooking activities.

Zhen Liu *, Arne Henningsen (2016). The Effects of China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program on Agricultural Households.Agricultural EconomicsVol.47, pp. 295-307.

In the late 1990s, China aimed to mitigate environmental degradation from agricultural production activities by introducing the world’s largest “Payments for Environmental Services program: the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). We develop a microeconomic Agricultural Household Model, which can model the production, consumption, and nonfarm labor supply decisions of agricultural households in rural China in a theoretically consistent fashion. Based on this theoretical model, we derive an empirical specification, which we econometrically estimate using the Hausman –Taylor method and a large longitudinal farm household data set. The empirical results significantly differ between regions, but are generally consistent with the results of our theoretical comparative static analysis, for example, that the SLCP significantly decreases agricultural production. While the SLCP only increases nonfarm labor supply and total consumption in some regions, these effects could not be observed in others. The recent reduction of the SLCP compensation payment rates generally had negligible effects on agricultural production and off-farm work and only very small effects on household consumption.

Qirui Li*, T. S. Amjath Babu, Peter Zander, Zhen Liu, Klau Müller (2016). Sustainability of smallholder agriculture in semi-arid areas under land set aside programs: a case study from China’s Loess Plateau. Sustainability (SSCI) Vol.8(4), pp. 395-401.doi: 10.3390/su8040395

This article analyzes agricultural sustainability in the context of land degradation, rural poverty and social inequality, taking China’s Loess Hills as an example. The analysis attempts to understand the multi-dimensionality of sustainability at the farm level and its relationship with physical-socio-economic-infrastructural-technological framework conditions in the context of the land set-aside program viz. the Grain for Green Project (GGP).We developed composite indices of sustainability and its environmental, economic and social dimensions using a principal component analysis (PCA)-based weighting scheme. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between the estimated sustainability indicators and the variables representing framework conditions of knowledge, demographics, and resource endowment and production techniques. The stated analysis was conducted on a dataset collected by means of household surveys in 2014 in valleys and flood plain areas in Yanhe Township. Findings reveal hidden correlations among the indicators of environmental, economic, and social pillars of sustainability. The ratio of land under the conservation program to actual farmland emerged as a key determinant of overall agricultural sustainability and its social dimension, which reaches the maximum when the ratio is around 0.56 and 0.64, respectively. The results also show that there is need to balance off-farm and on-farm income diversification as well as highlight the role of women in ensuring the sustainability of farming households. The core achievement of the article is the definition of the thresholds for the land set-aside program and the identification of major determinants of agricultural sustainability in the rural Chinese context in particular and in rural farming communities in general.

Zhen Liu *, Jing Lan (2015). The Sloping Land Conversion Program in China: Effects on Rural Households’ Livelihood Diversification. World Development (SSCI) Vol.70, pp. 147-161. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.01.004

By overcoming the barriers that limit access to financial liquidity and human resource, the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP) can promote rural livelihood diversification. This paper examines this effect using a household survey data set spanning the 1999 implementation of the Sloping land conversion program. Our results show that SLCP works as an external policy intervention on rural livelihood diversification. In addition, the findings demonstrate that there exist heterogeneous effects of SLCP implementation on livelihood diversification across different rural income groups. The lower income group was more affected by the program in terms of income diversification.


Co-host, Asian ESP conference (Secession of Evaluating the Impacts and Enhancing the Effectiveness of China’s Ecosystem Restoration Program), South Korea, May 30 – June 3, 2016.
Lecturer, Workshop on Treatment Effect Analysis, Indonesia, April 3-5, 2016.
The 29th Triennial Conference of the International Conference of Agricultural Economists (ICAE) in Milan, Italy from  August 9-14, 2015.
The 14th EAAE congress ― Agri-Food and Rural Innovations for Healthier Societies, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Auguest 26-29, 2014.
The 5th Europe Association of Agricultural Economics(EAAE) PhD Workshop, Leuven, Belgium, May29-31, 2013
7th Annual International Symposium on Economic Theory, Policy and Applications, 23-26 July 2012, Athens, Greece