Institute for Economic and Social Research

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American Economic Review: Insights

2020-02-01

Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China

The American Economic Review: Insights

Victor Couture, Benjamin Faber, Yizhen Gu, and Lizhi Liu 

Abstract

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.

Read more: http://www.nber.org/papers/w24384

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