Internationalization of the Rural Nonfarm Economy and the Cloud: Evidence from US Firm-Level Export Data

The move toward universal broadband availability envisioned in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program presents a double-edged sword for many rural communities: increasing the leakage of local spending to more internet sales countered by better opportunities for tapping remote markets. This paper uses confidential data to examine how export intensity is affected by subscription to cloud computer services—a technology that requires very high-speed broadband. Earlier research identified an enabling effect of the cloud on various types of firm-level innovation, effectively reducing the cost of experimentation by replacing large fixed IT investments with a pay-as-you-go service. To the extent that exporting places new demands on IT-enabled functions such as order fufillment and tracking, marketing, or document control, cloud subscriptions could substantially reduce the cost of entering, and excelling in, export markets.

Authors: Luyi Han, Timothy Wojan, Stephan J. Goetz

Publication: Presented at 2023 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Meeting   Date Published: July 23, 2023

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