Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa

Contents:

Author Info

  • Jenny C. Aker
  • Isaac M. Mbiti
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Access to and use of mobile telephony in sub-Saharan Africa has increased dramatically over the past decade. Mobile telephony has brought new possibilities to the continent. Across urban-rural and rich-poor divides, mobile phones connect individuals to individuals, information, markets, and services. These effects can be particularly dramatic in rural Africa, where in many places mobile phones have represented the first modern telecommunications infrastructure of any kind. Mobile phones have greatly reduced communication costs, thereby allowing individuals and firms to send and to obtain information quickly and cheaply on a variety of economic, social, and political topics. An emerging body of research shows that the reduction in communication costs associated with mobile phones has tangible economic benefits, improving agricultural and labor market efficiency and producer and consumer welfare in specific circumstances and countries. This paper first examines the evolution of mobile phone coverage and adoption in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade. We then explore the main channels through which mobile phones can effect economic outcomes and appraise current evidence of its potential to improve economic development. We conclude with directions for future research and outline the necessary conditions for mobile phones to promote broader economic development in Africa.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.3.207
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
    Pages: 207-32

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:207-32

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.207
    Contact details of provider:
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information:
    Web: http://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Brown, Jeffrey, 2000. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Working Paper Series rwp00-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1978. "A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Discussion Papers 335, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    3. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande, 2004. "Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/104, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    4. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2005. "Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Jenny C. Aker, 2010. "Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 46-59, July.
    6. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    7. Emily Oster & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Determinants of Technology Adoption: Private Value and Peer Effects in Menstrual Cup Take-Up," NBER Working Papers 14828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
    9. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094, August.
    10. Buys, Piet & Dasgupta, Susmita & Thomas, Tim & Wheeler, David, 2008. "Determinants of a digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa : a spatial econometric analysis of cell phone coverage," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4516, The World Bank.
    11. World Bank, 2009. "World Development Indicators 2009," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4367.
    12. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:207-32. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.