Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China

Author(s): Victor Couture, Benjamin Faber, Yizhen Gu and Lizhi Liu

Publication Date: March 2018

Keyword(s): E-commerce, economic development, rural-urban divide and trade integration

Programme Area(s): Development Economics and International Trade and Regional Economics

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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Couture, V, Faber, B, Gu, Y and Liu, L. 2018. 'Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.