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Mobiles and mobility: The Effect of Mobile Phones on Migration in Niger

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  • Aker, Jenny C.
  • Clemens, Michael A.
  • Ksoll, Christopher

Abstract

Labor markets in developing countries are subject to a high degree of frictions. We report the results from a randomized evaluation of an adult education program (Project ABC) in Niger, in which students learned how to use simple mobile phones as part of a literacy and numeracy class. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that access to this technology substantially influenced seasonal migration in Niger, increasing the likelihood of migration by at least one household member by 7 percentage points and the number of households' members engaging in seasonal migration. Evidence suggests that there are some heterogeneous impacts of the program, with a higher probability of a household member migrating in one region. These effects do not appear to be driven by differences in observable characteristics of households or differential effects of drought during the survey period. Rather we posit that they are largely explained by the effectiveness of mobile phones as a search technology: Students in ABC villages used mobile phones in more active ways and communicated more with migrants within Niger. These initial results suggest that simple and cheap information technology can be harnessed to affect labor mobility among rural populations. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 with number 2.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:2

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  1. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2008. "Migration and Economic Mobility in Tanzania: Evidence from a Tracking Survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4798, The World Bank.
  2. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
  3. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-32, Summer.
  4. Dimitrios Batzilis & Taryn Dinkelman & Emily Oster & Rebecca Thornton & Deric Zanera, 2010. "New cellular networks in Malawi: Correlates of service rollout and network performance," NBER Working Papers 16616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Bryan, Gharad, 2009. "Migrating Away from a Seasonal Famine: A Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 19224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Klonner, Stefan & Nolen, Patrick J., 2010. "Cell Phones and Rural Labor Markets: Evidence from South Africa," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 56, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  9. Robert Jensen, 2007. "The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 879-924, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Farré, Lídia & Fasani, Francesco, 2011. "Media Exposure and Internal Migration: Evidence from Indonesia," IZA Discussion Papers 6012, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "Migrant Remittances and Information Flows: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1331, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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