The Impact of Broadband on U.S. Agriculture: An Evaluation of the USDA Broadband Loan Program

We evaluate the impact of USDA’s low-cost broadband loan programs on the U.S. agricultural sector. The broadband loan programs increase access to high-speed internet in recipient communities, which can raise farm sales by increasing both farm output and prices received by producers. Further, high-speed internet may drive down costs by providing information on cheaper inputs and better management practices, leading to an overall improvement in farm profits. Using data from the 1997, 2002, and 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, we employ a panel difference-in-differences estimator, as well as a difference-in-differences propensity score matching estimator, to show that the two USDA broadband loan programs have positive impacts on farm sales, expenditure, and profits. The positive effects for crops are larger than those for livestock and animal products.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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