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This paper studies the impact of the largest conservation set-aside program in the developing world: China's Grain for Green program, on poverty alleviation in rural areas. Based on a large-scale survey, we find that the program was implemented mostly in the areas of China that are fairly poor. In addition, we show that income from livestock activities and some types of asset holdings of participants have increased significantly more than those of non-participants (due to program effects). Only weak evidence is provided demonstrating that participating households have begun to shift their labor into the off-farm sectors. Overall, the results suggest that the program has been moderately successful in achieving its poverty alleviation objectives.

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Copyright 2007 Cambridge University Press.