In the past two decades, with its rapid development and widespread application, the internet has profoundly changed the way we live and the way of production, as well as the environment the potential entrepreneurs would face. Information asymmetry is the source of entrepreneurial opportunity. Attributed to the Internet, the rich information and the lowered cost to get it can help people discover and identify the entrepreneurial opportunity. In the meantime, with the easy obtaining of information, the Internet can help people to respond quickly to the changes of the external market, thus decrease the entrepreneurial risk. The large network effect built by the wide use of the Internet can help entrepreneurs to extend the market scope, hereby increase the expected entrepreneurial revenue. Employing the micro-level survey data from China Family Panel Studies 2010 and 2012, we investigate the impact of individual use of the internet on one's entrepreneurial behavior. Our results show that the use of the internet raises the probability of entrepreneurship. Since the dependent variable whether one is an entrepreneur is a binary variable, we use a probit model in the basic regression. To mitigate the problem of endogeneity, we use one's household possession of a computer as the instrumental variable in a treatment effect model. The results show that our conclusion is robust. According to the investigation into the possible mechanism through which the Internet affect the entrepreneurial behavior, it is suggested that taking the internet as the main information channel facilitates entrepreneurial behavior, raising the probability of becoming an entrepreneur by 4.1 to 4.8 percent. In the meantime, as far as the information type is concerned, both the professional information and business information have a positive effect on the probability of becoming an entrepreneur. It suggests that the openness and easy obtaining of information can help people know more about the market, as well as the entrepreneurial opportunity, thus facilitate the entrepreneurial activities. As entrepreneurship can be started either for necessity or for opportunity, it’s often divided into “entrepreneurship by necessity” and “entrepreneurship by opportunity.” Unfortunately there’s no question about the motivations in the CFPS questionnaire, so we can’t distinguish between the two types . Instead we used ″whether one pays social insurance as a business owner″ as proxy, presupposing that those who does are the entrepreneurs by opportunity. The results show that the use of the Internet has a significant positive effect on entrepreneurship by opportunity. This further confirms that the richness of information brought by the Internet is conducive to the identification of entrepreneurial opportunity. And it also implies that the Internet can play a positive role in promoting the quality of entrepreneurship. In the developing countries, the institutional environment is an important determinant of entrepreneurship. By using 〈Business Environment Index for China's Provinces〉 by Wang et al.(2013)to measure the institutional environment , we try to figure out whether the impact of the Internet would vary with the institutional environment. The results show that the Internet use plays a bigger role in regions with better institutional environment. Compared to the previous documents, the contributions of this paper are as follows. First, its use of the data of Internet use at the individual level can overcome the problem of measurement errors. Second, its taking entrepreneurship as a starting point of studying the economic impact of the Internet provides a new empirical evidence for how the Internet possibly promotes the economic growth. Third, the previous empirical studies take the developed countries as objects, unlikely taking the possible interaction between the internet and the institutional environment into account. Our paper studies the impact of Internet use on the entrepreneurial behavior in China, and whether the impact would vary with the institutional environment. This paper can deepen the understanding of the economic consequences of Internet in the developing countries.
史晋川 王维维. 互联网使用对创业行为的影响——基于微观数据的实证研究[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2017, 3(4): 101-.
Shi Jinchuan Wang Weiwei. The Impact of Internet Use on Entrepreneurship: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Micro-level Data. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2017, 3(4): 101-.