NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Qi Wu

Department of Economics
Cornell University
404 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2019Information, Mobile Communication, and Referral Effects
with Panle Jia Barwick, Yanyan Liu, Eleonora Patacchini: w25873
Information is a crucial ingredient in economic decision making. Yet measuring the extent of information exchange among individuals and its effect on economic outcomes is a difficult task. We use the universe of de-identified cellphone usage records from more than one million users in a Chinese city over twelve months to quantify information exchange among individuals and examine its role in urban labor markets. We present the first empirical evidence that information flow (measured by call volume) correlates strongly with worker flows, a pattern that persists at different levels of geographic aggregation. Conditional on information flow, socioeconomic diversity in the source of information (social contacts), especially that associated with the working population, is crucial and helps to p...
 
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