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Mobile Phone Diffusion and Political Mobilization: Evidence from Africa

12 giugno 2014
San Francesco - Cappella Guinigi
We investigate the role played by the spread of mobile phone technology in fostering mass political mobilization in Africa. Using geo-referenced GDELT data on the incidence of protests together with detailed GSMA data on coverage of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies from 1998 to 2013, we show that protests are more likely to occur during recessions. Consistent with theliberation technology hypothesis, we show that the effect of recessions on protests get magnified by the availability of mobile technology: our estimates suggest that a fall in GDP per capita of 10% leads to a differential increase in protests per capita of around 15% if one moves from an area with no coverage to an area with full coverage, with an effect of 3G technology of more than ten times as much.
Tesei , Andrea