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Impact of Mobile Phones on Staple Food Markets in Mozambique: Improved Arbitrage or Increased Rent Extraction?

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  • Wouter Zant

    () (VU University, The Netherlands)

Abstract

We investigate to what extent the roll-out of the mobile phone network in Mozambique reduced search costs, and thereby lowered transport costs and improved the efficiency of agricultural markets. Estimations are based on data of both maize market prices and transport costs of maize grain. Evidence suggests improved arbitrage jointly with increased rent extraction by traders: the rollout explains a 4.5-7 percent reduction in maize price dispersion, and a slightly larger reduction in per ton km transport costs. Benefits of increased market efficiency are not biased towards either producer or consumer markets. Results are robust for non-random rollout of the mobile phone network and several other threats.

Suggested Citation

  • Wouter Zant, 2017. "Impact of Mobile Phones on Staple Food Markets in Mozambique: Improved Arbitrage or Increased Rent Extraction?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-021/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 26 Jan 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20170021
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    File URL: https://papers.tinbergen.nl/17021.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wouter Zant, 2018. "Mobile Phones and Mozambique Farmers: Less Asymmetric Information and More Trader Competition?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-055/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 11 Jan 2019.
    2. Wouter (W.) Zant, 2017. "Bridges," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-117/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 Apr 2019.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    search costs; transport costs; mobile phones; agricultural markets; maize prices; sub-Saharan Africa; Mozambique;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness

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