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Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China

Victor Couture, Benjamin Faber, Yizhen Gu, Lizhi Liu

NBER Working Paper No. 24384
Issued in March 2018, Revised in August 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program, International Trade and Investment Program, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

This paper estimates the impact of the first nation-wide e-commerce expansion program on rural households. To do so, we combine a randomized control trial with new survey and administrative microdata. In contrast to existing case studies, we find little evidence for income gains to rural producers and workers. Instead, the gains are driven by a reduction in cost of living for a minority of rural households who tend to be younger, richer and in more remote markets. These effects are mainly due to overcoming logistical barriers to e-commerce, rather than to additional investments to adapt e-commerce to the rural population.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24384

 
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