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Internet use and agricultural productivity in rural Vietnam

Thanh‐Tung Nguyen, Trung Thanh Nguyen and Ulrike Grote

Review of Development Economics, 2023, vol. 27, issue 3, 1309-1326

Abstract: The use of the internet is growing rapidly and has become an engine for economic development. However, few studies have examined the impact of internet use on agricultural production, and the results are not yet conclusive. Employing a dataset of more than 2000 observations in rural Vietnam, our study analyses the impact of internet use on agricultural productivity using the heteroscedasticity‐based instrument approach suggested by Lewbel, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2012, 30, 67–80 and examines the heterogeneity and distribution of the impact using quantile regressions. Our results show that internet use has significant and positive effects on agricultural productivity. However, these effects are heterogeneous across population groups. The positive effects of internet use are stronger for households with a lower level of education, with a young and female head, and from ethnic minorities. The benefits are also found to be skewed towards the group of farmers at the bottom of the productivity distribution. Therefore, we propose facilitating the diffusion of the internet, since it not only boosts agricultural productivity, but also reduces productivity inequality. In addition, we recommend promoting rural education, supporting local markets, investing more in irrigation systems, and facilitating farm mechanisation as these factors are found to contribute to increasing agricultural productivity.

Date: 2023
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