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Internet access and irrigation adoption in China

Internet access and irrigation adoption in China This study aims to examine the effect of the Internet on irrigation system adoption. The authors implement the most extensive household survey of irrigation arrangements ever conducted in rural China and also exploit a public program to improve the quality of distance education in rural middle schools, which has led to plausibly exogenous variation in Internet access across rural districts.Design/methodology/approachThe authors present a conceptual framework highlighting the transmission mechanisms whereby Internet access may affect irrigation system selection and identify direct effects through agricultural production and an indirect effect through non-agricultural production. To examine the effect of the Internet on irrigation system adoption, we implement the most extensive household survey of irrigation arrangements ever conducted in rural China. We also exploit a public program to improve the quality of distance education in rural middle schools, which has led to plausibly exogenous variation in Internet access across rural districts.FindingsThe authors find evidence to suggest that Internet access can effectively reduce information frictions and searching costs in the non-agricultural labor market, thus increasing rural households' participation in non-farm work. To save more hours from agricultural production, rural households select more labor-saving irrigation systems.Originality/valueThis study’s findings have important implications for the ongoing policy debate over government investment in Internet infrastructure to improve agricultural development in rural and isolated areas. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Agricultural Economic Review Emerald Publishing

Internet access and irrigation adoption in China

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1756-137X
DOI
10.1108/caer-01-2021-0022
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to examine the effect of the Internet on irrigation system adoption. The authors implement the most extensive household survey of irrigation arrangements ever conducted in rural China and also exploit a public program to improve the quality of distance education in rural middle schools, which has led to plausibly exogenous variation in Internet access across rural districts.Design/methodology/approachThe authors present a conceptual framework highlighting the transmission mechanisms whereby Internet access may affect irrigation system selection and identify direct effects through agricultural production and an indirect effect through non-agricultural production. To examine the effect of the Internet on irrigation system adoption, we implement the most extensive household survey of irrigation arrangements ever conducted in rural China. We also exploit a public program to improve the quality of distance education in rural middle schools, which has led to plausibly exogenous variation in Internet access across rural districts.FindingsThe authors find evidence to suggest that Internet access can effectively reduce information frictions and searching costs in the non-agricultural labor market, thus increasing rural households' participation in non-farm work. To save more hours from agricultural production, rural households select more labor-saving irrigation systems.Originality/valueThis study’s findings have important implications for the ongoing policy debate over government investment in Internet infrastructure to improve agricultural development in rural and isolated areas.

Journal

China Agricultural Economic ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 9, 2022

Keywords: Internet access; Irrigation adoption; China; H40; O33; Q15

References