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Can online social interaction improve the digital finance participation of rural households?

Jing He and Qinghai Li

China Agricultural Economic Review, 2020, vol. 12, issue 2, 295-313

Abstract: Purpose - Digital finance is a promising way to realize inclusive finance. However, the determinants of digital finance participation are largely unknown. This study aims to analyze the interface between social interaction and the digital finance participation of rural households and explore potential channels of social interaction to help them access digital finance. Design/methodology/approach - Using rural household survey data from China in 2017, employing the probit, ordered probit and count model, this study assesses the relationship between social interaction and digital finance. Findings - The authors find that active online social interaction of rural households promotes digital finance participation, which also increases the depth and breadth of digital finance usage. Meanwhile, the role of traditional offline social interaction is insignificant. Contextual interaction is the channel through which online social interaction influences digital finance participation. Moreover, word-of-mouth, common topic pleasure and social norms in endogenous interactions are irrelevant. In addition, the role of online social interaction complements offline social interaction at promoting digital finance participation. Originality/value - This study contributes to the understanding of digital finance by investigating the possible channels by which social interaction influences digital finance participation and highlight an important channel–contextual interaction, especially for online social interaction. This study expands the content of social interaction from traditional offline social interaction to online social interaction to evaluate the interface between social interaction and financial behavior more comprehensively.

Keywords: Digital finance; Online social interaction; Rural households (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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