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Mobiles and mobility: The Effect of Mobile Phones on Migration in Niger

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  • Aker, Jenny C.
  • Clemens, Michael A.
  • Ksoll, Christopher

Abstract

Labor markets in developing countries are subject to a high degree of frictions. We report the results from a randomized evaluation of an adult education program (Project ABC) in Niger, in which students learned how to use simple mobile phones as part of a literacy and numeracy class. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that access to this technology substantially influenced seasonal migration in Niger, increasing the likelihood of migration by at least one household member by 7 percentage points and the number of households' members engaging in seasonal migration. Evidence suggests that there are some heterogeneous impacts of the program, with a higher probability of a household member migrating in one region. These effects do not appear to be driven by differences in observable characteristics of households or differential effects of drought during the survey period. Rather we posit that they are largely explained by the effectiveness of mobile phones as a search technology: Students in ABC villages used mobile phones in more active ways and communicated more with migrants within Niger. These initial results suggest that simple and cheap information technology can be harnessed to affect labor mobility among rural populations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:2
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/48341/1/2_aker.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Gharad Bryan, 2009. "Migrating Away from a Seasonal Famine: A Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-41, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Sep 2009.
    2. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
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    6. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
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    Cited by:

    1. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "Migrant remittances and information flows: Evidence from a field experiment," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1306, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    2. Farré, Lídia & Fasani, Francesco, 2013. "Media exposure and internal migration — Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 48-61.
    3. repec:bla:devpol:v:35:y:2017:i:3:p:315-336 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lu, Yi & Xie, Huihua & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2016. "Telecommunication externality on migration: Evidence from Chinese villages," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 77-90.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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