The Effects of Social Network and Institutional Embeddedness on Household Consumption: Evidence from China Household Finance Survey
Chaoxun Ding* and Ruidan Zhang**,
*School of Management, Henan University of Science and Technology
No.263 Kaiyuan Avenue, Luoyang, Henan 471023, China
**Development Planning Division, Henan University of Science and Technology
No.263 Kaiyuan Avenue, Luoyang, Henan 471023, China
Consumer behavior is embedded in a certain social structure and social networks, and the scale and density of household social networks will be likely to affect consumption expenditure. To explore the impact of social networks and institutional embeddedness on household consumption, this study constructs a model of consumption influencing factors, and devises an empirical study using the data of China Household Finance Survey (CHFS). The results show some innovation. (1) The impact of household social networks on total household consumption is significant. A 1% increase in social networks spending boosts household consumption spending by 0.364%. (2) The institutional embeddedness will affect household consumption. Every 1% increase of social security account balance (the proxy variable of institutional embeddedness) can boost household consumption by 0.196%. This proves that the social insurance institution can enhance consumer confidence and promote current consumption growth. (3) The results of the robustness test confirmed that even after replacing the dependent variable with “the proportion of developmental consumption in total household consumption,” the influence of social networks and institutional embeddedness on consumption is still significant. Using the variable “communication expenses” instead of “gift income and expenditure” as the proxy variable of social networks, the estimation result is still robust. (4) Social networks have a significant influence on all types of household consumption except medical care consumption, but the degree of influence is different. Further discussion revealed that the estimation results are different for different regions in China, but the coefficients of core independent variables are not significantly different. This conclusion is different from people’s intuition, which holds that people in regions with low economic development rely more on social communication and spend more on social communication to maintain a certain social status. The conclusion of this paper is of great significance for formulating policies and institutions affecting residents’ consumption.
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