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Determinants of a Digital Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Cell Phone Coverage

  • Buys, Piet
  • Dasgupta, Susmita
  • Thomas, Timothy S.
  • Wheeler, David

Summary This paper investigates the determinants of disparities in coverage by cell telephone systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. It uses a spatially disaggregated probit for over 990,000 grid cells with adjustments for spatial autocorrelation. Determinants include potential market size (population); cost factors related to accessibility (elevation, slope, distance from a main road, and distance from the nearest large city); and competition policy. Estimates indicate significant results for the supply-demand variables, and very strong results for the competition policy index. Simulations suggest that a generalized improvement in competition policy could lead to huge improvements in cell phone area coverage, and to an overall coverage increase of nearly 100%.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 1494-1505

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:9:p:1494-1505
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  1. Ibarguen, Giancarlo, 2003. "Liberating the radio spectrum in Guatemala," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 543-554, August.
  2. Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 1999. "Can Africa export manufactures? The role of endowment, exchange rates, and transaction costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2120, The World Bank.
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  6. Dasgupta, Susmita & Lall, Somik & Wheeler, David, 2001. "Policy reform, economic growth, and the digital divide - an econometric analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2567, The World Bank.
  7. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "Intersectoral Transfer, Growth, and Inequality in Rural Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 481-496, March.
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  9. Banerjee, Aniruddha & Ros, Agustin J., 2004. "Patterns in global fixed and mobile telecommunications development: a cluster analysis," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 107-132, March.
  10. Srivastava, Lara & Sinha, Sidharth, 2001. "TP case study: fixed-mobile interconnection in India," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 21-38, February.
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  13. Anselin, Luc, 2002. "Under the hood Issues in the specification and interpretation of spatial regression models," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 27(3), November.
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