Rural Entrepreneurial Performance Enhanced by Return Migration: Evidence from e-Commerce

Principal Investigator

Wesley Koo
Management Science & Engineering Department, Stanford School of Engineering


Stanford Graduate School of Business
Research Locations China
Award Date March 2017
Award Type PhD Fellowship


How does return migration affect the performance of rural businesses? Migrants bring in knowledge and expertise for local business and entrepreneurship, but business talent rarely migrates or returns to rural areas, which lack access to market, resources, and information. However, recent evidence in China indicates that returning migrants are joining or starting businesses in the villages via e-commerce platforms. This study explores this new phenomenon and examines whether return migration benefits the performance of rural sellers in that region. The data consists of a highly unique panel dataset directly acquired from Alibaba’s, combined with regional migration data and interviews.