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Low-Income Demand for Local Telephone Service: Effects of Lifeline and Linkup

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Ackerberg

    (Economics Department, University of Arizona)

  • Michael Riordan

    (Department of Economics, School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
    Finance & Economics Department, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University)

  • Gregory Rosston

    () (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University)

  • Bradley Wimmer

    (Department of Economics, St. Lawrence University)

Abstract

This study evaluates the effect of the “Lifeline” and “Linkup” subsidy programs on telephone penetration rates of low-income households. It is the first to estimate low-income telephone demand across demographic groups using location-specific Lifeline and Linkup prices. The demand specifications use a discrete choice model aggregated across demographic groups. GMM estimators correct for the possible endogeneity of subsidized prices. A simulation predicts low-income telephone penetration would be 4.1 percentage points lower without Lifeline and Linkup. Results suggest that Linkup is more cost-effective than Lifeline, and that automatic enrollment in the programs increases penetration.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Ackerberg & Michael Riordan & Gregory Rosston & Bradley Wimmer, 2009. "Low-Income Demand for Local Telephone Service: Effects of Lifeline and Linkup," Discussion Papers 08-047, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Aug 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-047
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cain, Paul & Macdonald, James M, 1991. "Telephone Pricing Structures: The Effects on Universal Service," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 293-308, December.
    2. Gregory L. Rosston & Scott J. Savage & Bradley S. Wimmer, 2008. "The Effect of Private Interests on Regulated Retail and Wholesale Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 479-501, August.
    3. Hausman, Jerry & Tardiff, Timothy & Belinfante, Alexander, 1993. "The Effects of the Breakup of AT&T on Telephone Penetration in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 178-184, May.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    5. Wimmer, Bradley S. & Rosston, Gregory L., 2005. "Local telephone rate structures: before and after the Act," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 13-34, January.
    6. Burton Mark & Macher Jeffrey & Mayo John W, 2007. "Understanding Participation in Social Programs: Why Don't Households Pick up the Lifeline?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, November.
    7. Garbacz, Christopher & Thompson, Herbert G, Jr, 2003. "Estimating Telephone Demand with State Decennial Census Data from 1970-1990: Update with 2000 Data," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 373-378, November.
    8. Eriksson, Ross C & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 1998. "Targeted and Untargeted Subsidy Schemes: Evidence from Postdivestiture Efforts to Promote Universal Telephone Service," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 477-502, October.
    9. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Perez Montes, 2012. "Regulatory bias in the price structure of local telephone services," Working Papers 1201, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Biancini, Sara, 2011. "Behind the scenes of the telecommunications miracle: An empirical analysis of the Indian market," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 238-249, April.
    3. Ying Fan & Mo Xiao, 2015. "Competition and subsidies in the deregulated US local telephone industry," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 751-776, October.
    4. Gregory L. Rosston & Scott J. Savage & Bradley S. Wimmer, 2006. "The Impact of "Deregulation" on Regulator Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of the Telecommunications Act of 1996," Discussion Papers 05-006, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    5. Ackerberg, Daniel A. & DeRemer, David R. & Riordan, Michael H. & Rosston, Gregory L. & Wimmer, Bradley S., 2014. "Estimating the impact of low-income universal service programs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 84-98.
    6. Pérez Montes, Carlos, 2013. "Regulatory bias in the price structure of local telephone service," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 462-476.
    7. Holt, Lynne & Galligan, Mary, 2013. "Mapping the field: Retrospective of the federal universal service programs," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 773-793.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    telephone subsidies; low-income telephone usuers;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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