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Telecommunications externality on migration : evidence from Chinese Villages

  • Lu, Yi
  • Xie, Huihua
  • Xu, Lixin Colin

This paper uses a unique natural experiment in Chinese villages to investigate whether access to telecommunications-- in particular, landline phones -- increases the likelihood of outmigration. By using regional and time variations in the installation of landline phones, the difference-in-differences estimation shows that access to landline phones increases the ratio of out-migrant workers by 2 percentage points, or about 50 percent of the sample mean in China. The results remain robust to a battery of validity checks. Furthermore, landline phones affect outmigration through two channels: information access to job opportunities and timely contact with left-behind family members. The findings underscore the positive migration externality of expanding telecommunications access in rural areas, especially in places where migration potential is large.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6644.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6644
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