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Cell Phones and Rural Labor Markets: Evidence from South Africa

Author

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  • Klonner, Stefan
  • Nolen, Patrick J.

Abstract

We study the labor market effects of the roll-out of mobile phone coverage in rural South Africa. We address identification issues which arise from the fact that network roll-out cannot be viewed as an exogenous process to local economic development. We combine spatially coded data from South Africa's leading network provider with annual labor force surveys. We use terrain properties to construct an instrumental variable that allows us to identify the causal effect of network coverage on economic outcomes under plausible assumptions. We find substantial effects of network roll-out on labor market outcomes with remarkable gender-specific differences. Employment increases by 15 percentage points when a locality receives network coverage. A gender- differentiated analysis shows that most of this effect is due to increased employment by women, in particular those who are not burdened with large child care responsibilities at their homes. All of the employment gains accrue in wage employed occupations. Agricultural employment decreases substantially, especially among males.

Suggested Citation

  • Klonner, Stefan & Nolen, Patrick J., 2010. "Cell Phones and Rural Labor Markets: Evidence from South Africa," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 56, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec10:56
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aker, Jenny C. & Clemens, Michael A. & Ksoll, Christopher, 2011. "Mobiles and mobility: The Effect of Mobile Phones on Migration in Niger," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 2, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    2. Mang, Constantin, 2013. "From upgrade to uptake: The effect of mobile internet infrastructure on usage of local online services," 24th European Regional ITS Conference, Florence 2013 88511, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Simon Franklin, 2016. "Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa," SERC Discussion Papers 0197, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    4. Franklin, Simon, 2016. "Enabled to work: the impact of government housing on slum dwellers in South Africa," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66537, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Kyeong Ho Lee & Marc F. Bellemare, 2013. "Look Who's Talking: The Impacts of the Intrahousehold Allocation of Mobile Phones on Agricultural Prices," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 624-640, May.
    6. Eduardo Nakasone & Maximo Torero, 2016. "A text message away: ICTs as a tool to improve food security," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(S1), pages 49-59, November.
    7. Salas Garcia, Vania B. & Fan, Qin, 2015. "Information Access and Smallholder Farmers’ Selling Decisions in Peru," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205380, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Matias Busso & Dario Romero Fonseca, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Patterns and Explanations," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0187, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    9. Raul KATZ & Pantelis KOUTROUMPIS, 2012. "The Economic Impact of Telecommunications in Senegal," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(86), pages 21-42, 2nd quart.
    10. Simon Franklin, 2015. "Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. repec:eee:iepoli:v:40:y:2017:i:c:p:71-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. de Brauw, Alan & Mueller, Valerie & Lee, Hak Lim, 2014. "The Role of Rural–Urban Migration in the Structural Transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 33-42.
    13. Labonne, Julien & Chase, Robert S., 2009. "The power of information : the impact of mobile phones on farmers'welfare in the Philippines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4996, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mobile Phones; Economic Development; Project Evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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