Discussion paper

DP12771 Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China

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.


Faber, B, L Liu, Y Gu and V Couture (2018), ‘DP12771 Connecting the Countryside via E-Commerce: Evidence from China‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12771. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12771