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The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa

Jonas Hjort, Jonas Poulsen

NBER Working Paper No. 23582
Issued in July 2017, Revised in January 2018
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program, Labor Studies Program, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23582

Published: Jonas Hjort & Jonas Poulsen, 2019. "The Arrival of Fast Internet and Employment in Africa," American Economic Review, vol 109(3), pages 1032-1079.

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