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The power of Internet: from the perspective of women’s bargaining power


  • Zhongwu Li

    (Zhejiang University of Technology)

  • Fengzhi Lu

    (Anhui University)


In the exploration of factors influencing women’s empowerment, prior research has offered limited insights into the impact of technology, specifically the Internet. This study pioneers the incorporation of the Internet into the framework of women’s empowerment, investigating its causal effect on women’s bargaining power within households. Bargaining power is defined here as women’s capacity to shape crucial decisions pertaining to significant family matters such as investments and property acquisitions. Utilizing data from the Third National Survey on Chinese Women’s Social Status and the 2014 China Family Panel Studies, this paper reveals that Internet usage significantly enhances women’s bargaining power. Notably, this positive effect persists even after addressing endogeneity concerns through instrumental variable methodology. The study further uncovers that the empowering influence of Internet use is particularly pronounced in rural areas. Gender beliefs, employment status, and income level emerge as pivotal mediating factors through which Internet usage influences women’s bargaining power. The findings highlight the crucial role of digital technology in women’s empowerment, underscoring the importance of policies aimed at expanding women’s Internet access to enhance their bargaining power within households.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhongwu Li & Fengzhi Lu, 2024. "The power of Internet: from the perspective of women’s bargaining power," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 11(1), pages 1-12, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:palcom:v:11:y:2024:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-024-02670-w
    DOI: 10.1057/s41599-024-02670-w

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