The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa
To show how fast Internet affects employment in Africa, we exploit the gradual arrival of submarine Internet cables on the coast and maps of the terrestrial cable network. Robust difference-in-differences estimates from three datasets covering 12 countries show large positive effects on employment rates—also for less educated worker groups—with little or no job displacement across space. The sample-wide impact is driven by increased employment in higher-skill occupations, but less educated workers’ employment gain less so. Firm level data available for some countries indicate that increased firm entry, productivity, and exporting contribute to higher net job-creation. Average incomes rise.
We are grateful to Editor Marianne Bertrand and five anonymous referees for insightful comments that significantly improved the paper. We also thank Adrian Adermon, Sebastian Axbard, Niklas Bengtsson, Martina Björkman-Nyqvist, Greg Bruich, Esther Duflo, Ray Fisman, Oded Galor, Francois Gerard, Amit Khandelwal, Erik Lindqvist, Mushfiq Mobarak, Kalle Moene, Eva Mörk, Anders Olofsgård, Michel Serafinelli, Kjetil Storesletten, Eric Verhoogen, Tim Waters, Frank Windmeijer, Chris Woodruff, and especially Henrik Sigstad and Matthieu Teachout for many helpful conversations, and seminar participants at the Barcelona Summer Forum, Bocconi, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, IGC Growth Week, NBER Summer Institute, Oslo, Oxford, Stockholm School of Economics, UBC, and Uppsala for comments and suggestions. Sawal Acharya, Patrick Kennedy, and Roxanne Rahnama provided great research assistance. We thank Akamai, Steve Song, and the World Bank for data access. Hjort thanks the Center for Development Economics and Policy at Columbia University for financial support. Any errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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Jonas Hjort & Jonas Poulsen, 2019. "The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa," American Economic Review, vol 109(3), pages 1032-1079. citation courtesy of