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Does digitalization affect the objective and subjective wellbeing of forestry farm households? Empirical evidence in Fujian Province of China

Yan-Zhen Hong and Hung-Hao Chang ()

Forest Policy and Economics, 2020, vol. 118, issue C

Abstract: The economic development literature has documented the importance of internet access on farm household income. Despite this well-supported consensus, limited empirical evidence has been provided on forestry farms and on the relationship between internet access and household subjective wellbeing. This study fills this knowledge gap by identifying the determinants of internet use for forestry farm householders. In addition, this paper empirically assesses the association between internet use and the objective and subjective wellbeing of forestry farm households in rural China. Using a survey of forestry farm households in Fujian Province of China and applying the Instrumental Variable model to cope with potential endogeneity bias, we find that household size, labor use, human capital of the household head, and regional heterogeneity are important determinants of households' internet use decisions. Compared with non-internet users, internet-user households have 28% higher household income and 10% higher life satisfaction, ceteris paribus. Furthermore, the increase in household income is driven partly by using the internet for collecting information on either forest prices or production technology. From the perspective of benefit–cost analysis, we find that for every Chinese dollar spent on internet use, farm households' income increases by approximately 11 Chinese dollars.

Keywords: Internet use; Household income; Life satisfaction; Benefit-cost analysis; Forestry farm household (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D61 Q12 Q23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2020.102236

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