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How the new media impacts rural development in China: an empirical study

Dong Zhou (Department of Cultural Industry and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Benqian Li (School of Media and Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)

China Agricultural Economic Review

ISSN: 1756-137X

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to study a new pathway out of poverty for rural areas through cultivating non-farm employment: the new media utilization.


The authors utilize two waves of nationwide micro survey data in China, China General Social Survey 2005 and 2013, to investigate the impacts of new media coverage on non-farm employment and earnings in rural China with the ordered probit model and instrument variables.


The authors find that promotion of new media coverage can significantly enhance rural non-farm employment in China by 10-20 percent and ultimately increase earnings for rural residents. The findings provide new evidence for the new media as a potential newly emerging pathway out of poverty for rural areas. The conclusions are robust regarding a variety of controls and model specifications, evaluations with alternative measures, examinations within different subsamples, and estimations with constructed pseudo panels.

Social implications

Encouragement of new media coverage in rural China not only can improve the rural non-farm employment and living standards but also can contribute toward narrowing the differences between urban and rural areas, thereby balancing regional development.


It contributes to the existing literature through primarily empirically investigating the economic functions of new media in rural China.



The authors are grateful to Data and Research Center of Renmin University Bejing for sharing their data and their research is sponsored by Shanghai Pujiang Program (16PJC060) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Cross-Disciplines Research Fund (12JCY06). All mistakes are of the authors’ own.


Zhou, D. and Li, B. (2017), "How the new media impacts rural development in China: an empirical study", China Agricultural Economic Review, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 238-254.



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