Mobile Telephony and Economic Growth in Developing Economies

Mobile Telephony and Economic Growth in Developing Economies

Heli Virta (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland), Kaisu Puumalainen (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland) and Anni Tuppura (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0882-5.ch105
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This chapter investigates the influence of mobile phone penetration on economic growth in developing economies. It is widely agreed that telecommunications infrastructure has a positive effect on GDP growth. The empirical evidence concerns mainly fixed line telephony and is mostly conducted with samples from developed countries. Mobile telephony, on the other hand, may be particularly important in those low-income countries, where landlines are not accessible to all. As there also is some evidence that mobile technology may encourage innovative entrepreneurial activity, it is likely that mobile telephony has a great positive impact on welfare especially in developing economies. To examine the role of mobile telephone penetration in economic growth, we use difference and system GMM estimators with a sample of low-income and lower middle-income countries and find mobile telephony to boost economic growth. This result suggests that extensive mobile cellular network coverage facilitates economic development in developing countries.

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