Mobile Impact: Developments in Wireless, Wireless for Development
Friday, April 16th, 2010
Video of the event now available.
In a mere quarter century, two out of every three individuals in the world has acquired a mobile phone. Many use mobile wireless alongside fixed-line service, but for many more it represents their first and only access to telecommunications. The spectacular spread of this communications technology must surely have enormous economic impacts and yet those impacts remain poorly understood.
This invitation only conference gathers scholars who are investigating the role of mobile telephony in rich and poor economies alike. Their research examines various dimensions of mobile’s economic impact on:
- Consumer welfare as measured by increases in surplus and derived from convenience and time savings.
- Firm performance affected by productive efficiency and organizational change.
- Market ability to process information and economize on transaction costs.
- Macro-economic indicators of GDP and productivity growth.
The papers will employ econometric methods of panel data sets as well as more qualitative analysis of impacts of mobile telephony. The scope of evidence will span both case studies and regional investigations in addition to cross-national comparisons.
This conference is a sequel to an April 2009 conference hosted at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy. A selection of papers presented at that meeting were published in the February 2010 issue of Information Economics & Policy. Wireless telephony has eclipsed fixed line service by almost every measure of market acceptance, and unlike many other communications technologies, mobile phones have spread through poor and rich nations alike. No technology—except possibly the internet—holds more promise to deliver the digital content and interactive services of the future to the world’s population. In developing economies, mobile phones are uniquely positioned to bring computing power to the bottom of the economic pyramid. In developed economies, the mobile phone is an indispensable component of modern life—part toy and part tool.
For more information, visit the Mobile Impact website.