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Does Internet use improve technical efficiency? Evidence from apple production in China

Xiaoke Zhu, Ruifa Hu, Chao Zhang () and Guanming Shi

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2021, vol. 166, issue C

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of Internet use on technical efficiency in apple production in China using a unique cross-sectional dataset covering 479 apple-producing farm households. The stochastic frontier analysis is used to calculate technical efficiency in apple production, accounting for the endogenous issues of intermediate inputs. The endogenous switching regression model is employed to examine the impact of Internet use on technical efficiency, accounting for the self-selectivity bias arising from observable and unobservable factors. The survey reveals that 52.4% of the sample farm households use the Internet to acquire technological information. On average, technical efficiency in apple production for the sample farm households merely equals 0.63, indicating substantial room for further improvement. After accounting for the self-selectivity bias, the Internet users would reduce technical efficiency by 30.3% if they had not used the Internet to acquire technological information. The robustness check using the treatment effects model reconfirms that Internet use can improve technical efficiency in apple production. Policy implications for developing an Internet-based agricultural extension system in China are also discussed.

Keywords: Internet; Technical efficiency; Self-selectivity bias; Endogenous switching regression model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q12 Q16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:166:y:2021:i:c:s0040162521000949

DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120662

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