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Crossing the digital divide: The impact of the digital economy on elderly individuals’ consumption upgrade in China

Yuan He, Ke Li and Yipan Wang

Technology in Society, 2022, vol. 71, issue C

Abstract: The digital economy is a pivotal force driving economic development that has profoundly changed the public's way of life. However, less privileged elderly groups may be unable to enjoy the digital dividend, which is an issue to be answered in the digital era. This study examines the China Internet Plus Index and explores the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study micro database. Furthermore, the study measures the degree of improvement in the lives of the elderly more intuitively using the consumption upgrade metric and examines the impact of the digital economy on the lives of the elderly. The findings indicate that digital economic development has made a remarkable contribution to the scaling up the elderly population's economic structure and material affluence. The results of propensity score matching and the instrumental variables approach remain robust. The digital dividend for senior individuals is mainly delivered through more convenient payment, lower search costs, and more social interaction. Moreover, elderly individuals living in bigger cities with high human and physical capital or digital and media literacy enjoy more digital dividends. Therefore, while supporting the digital economy's development, the government should prioritize and spend resources on elderly individuals who enjoy fewer digital dividends to realize the equality of digital rewards. The study's findings can provide a new perspective on the overall balanced development of the digital economy and help stimulate the development of the elderly market by releasing digital dividends.

Keywords: Digital economy; Digital divide; Elderly consumption; Elderly economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102141

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