The effects of a government's subsidy program: accessibility beyond affordability

Xiao, Ping, Xiao, Ruli, Liang, Yitian (Sky), Chen, Xinlei (Jack) and Lu, Wei 2020, The effects of a government's subsidy program: accessibility beyond affordability, Management science, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 3211-3233, doi: 10.1287/mnsc.2019.3334.

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Title The effects of a government's subsidy program: accessibility beyond affordability
Author(s) Xiao, PingORCID iD for Xiao, Ping
Xiao, Ruli
Liang, Yitian (Sky)
Chen, Xinlei (Jack)
Lu, Wei
Journal name Management science
Volume number 66
Issue number 7
Start page 3211
End page 3233
Total pages 23
Publisher Institute of Management Science
Place of publication Providence, R.I.
Publication date 2020-07
ISSN 0025-1909
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Science & Technology
Operations Research & Management Science
Business & Economics
distribution coverage expansion
dynamic games
subsidy program
adjustment costs
hassle costs
Summary Rural consumers may face not only the challenge of affordability but also the problem of limited accessibility. Can a government’s subsidy program effectively address these issues? This paper examines the impact of a large-scale subsidy program, “Household electrical appliances going to the countryside,” offered by the Chinese government. The government regulation imposes a price subsidy combined with a price ceiling on products in the program. We consider two effects of the subsidy: the retail price is lowered to make the product more affordable to consumers, and manufacturers are encouraged to expand their distribution coverage to make products more accessible to consumers. We build a dynamic model of oligopoly to study how firms adjust their distribution coverage. Conditional on the model estimates, we evaluate the program’s effects on social welfare, consumer surplus, and firms’ market performance and marketing channel decisions through counterfactual analyses. We find that the subsidy program increases social welfare by CNY 0.209 billion, as a result of a subsidy expense of CNY 0.236 billion. When breaking down the impact, we find it increases consumer surplus by CNY 0.184 billion (50%), manufacturers’ profits by CNY 0.125 billion (53%), and manufacturers’ payoffs by CNY 2.5 million (17%). Specifically, 14% (13.2%) of the consumer surplus (firm profit) increases are from changes in distribution coverage, and the rest is from the subsidy (price changes). The program’s return of investment (i.e., social welfare minus subsidy expense), which is negative, however, could be improved by applying a relatively lower subsidy rate. This paper was accepted by Juanjuan Zhang, marketing.
Language eng
DOI 10.1287/mnsc.2019.3334
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 08 Information and Computing Sciences
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
Department of Marketing
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