E-Commerce Integration and Economic Development: Evidence from China

71 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2018

See all articles by Victor Couture

Victor Couture

University of California, Berkeley

Benjamin Faber

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Yizhen Gu

Jinan University

Lizhi Liu

Stanford University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2018


The number of people buying and selling products online in China has grown from practically zero in 2000 to more than 400 million by 2015. Most of this growth has occurred in cities. In this context, the Chinese government recently announced the expansion of e-commerce to the countryside as a policy priority with the objective to close the rural-urban economic divide. As part of this agenda, the government entered a partnership with a large Chinese e-commerce firm. The program invests in the necessary logistics to ship products to and sell products from tens of thousands of villages that were largely unconnected to e-commerce trading. The firm also installs an e-commerce terminal at a central village location, where a terminal manager assists households in buying and selling products through the firm's e-commerce platform. This paper combines a new collection of survey and administrative microdata with a randomized control trial (RCT) that we implement across villages in collaboration with the e-commerce firm. We use this empirical setting to provide evidence on the potential of e-commerce integration to foster economic development in the countryside, the underlying channels and the distribution of the gains from e-commerce across households and villages.

Keywords: E-commerce, economic development, rural-urban divide, trade integration

JEL Classification: F63, O12, R13

Suggested Citation

Couture, Victor and Faber, Benjamin and Gu, Yizhen and Liu, Lizhi, E-Commerce Integration and Economic Development: Evidence from China (March 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12771. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3134422

Victor Couture (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Benjamin Faber

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

Yizhen Gu

Jinan University ( email )

Huang Pu Da Dao Xi 601, Tian He District
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632

Lizhi Liu

Stanford University ( email )

No Address Available

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