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Telecommunications and economic growth: an empirical analysis of sub-saharan Africa


  • Sang H. Lee


  • John Levendis


  • Luis Gutierrez



We examine the effect on economic growth of mobile cellular phones in sub-Saharan Africa where a marked asymmetry is present between land-line penetration and mobile telecommunications expansion. This study extends previous ones along two important dimensions. First, we allow for the potential endogeneity between economic growth and telecommunications expansion by employing a special linear generalized method of moments (GMM) estimator. Second, we explicitly model for varying degrees of substitutability between mobile cellular and land-line telephony, so that greater expansion of mobile telecommunications can have a different impact whenever the level of land-line penetration differs. We find that mobile cellular phone expansion is an important determinant of the rate of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, we find that the contribution of mobile cellular phones to economic growth has been growing in importance in the region, and that the marginal impact of mobile telecommunication services is even greater wherever land-line phones are rare. Given the low cost of mobile telecommunications technology relative to other broad infrastructure projects, especially land-line infrastructure, we advocate that mobile telecommunication services be encouraged in the area.

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  • Sang H. Lee & John Levendis & Luis Gutierrez, 2009. "Telecommunications and economic growth: an empirical analysis of sub-saharan Africa," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 005512, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:005512

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    Cited by:

    1. Haucap, Justus & Heimesho, Ulrich & Lange, Mirjam R. J., 2014. "The impact of tariff diversity on broadband diffusion: An empirical analysis," 20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies 106898, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Bertschek, Irene & Briglauer, Wolfgang & Hüschelrath, Kai & Kauf, Benedikt & Niebel, Thomas, 2016. "The economic impacts of telecommunications networks and broadband internet: A survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-056, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Pradhan, Rudra P. & Arvin, Mak B. & Norman, Neville R. & Bele, Samadhan K., 2014. "Economic growth and the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the G-20 countries: A panel-VAR approach," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 634-649.
    4. Piper, Alan T., 2014. "The Benefits, Challenges and Insights of a Dynamic Panel assessment of Life Satisfaction," MPRA Paper 59556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Piper, Alan T., 2014. "Zukunftsangst! Fear of (and hope for) the future and its impact on life satisfaction," MPRA Paper 59557, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Piper, Alan T., 2014. "An Investigation into Happiness, Dynamics and Adaptation," MPRA Paper 57778, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Shahiduzzaman, Md. & Alam, Khorshed, 2014. "The long-run impact of Information and Communication Technology on economic output: The case of Australia," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 623-633.
    8. Ward, Michael R. & Zheng, Shilin, 2014. "Mobile telecommunications infrastructure and economic growth: Evidence from China," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101405, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    9. Bertschek Irene & Briglauer Wolfgang & Hüschelrath Kai & Kauf Benedikt & Niebel Thomas, 2015. "The Economic Impacts of Broadband Internet: A Survey," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(4), pages 201-227, December.
    10. Pradhan, Rudra P. & Arvin, Mak B. & Hall, John H., 2016. "Economic growth, development of telecommunications infrastructure, and financial development in Asia, 1991–2012," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 25-38.
    11. Rohman, Ibrahim Kholilul & Bohlin, Erik, 2014. "Decomposition analysis of the telecommunications sector in Indonesia: What does the cellular era shed light on?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 248-263.

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