The impacts of mobile phones and personal networks on rural-to-urban migration: evidence from Uganda

Personal networks can help rural workers find urban jobs. When information flow increases due to the expansion of mobile phone use, the new information flow may strengthen existing types of personal network, such as ethnic networks, or provide opportunities to those who were previously outside of these networks. The author examines the combined impacts of mobile phone use and personal networks by using panel data from 856 households in 94 communities in rural Uganda, where the number of communities with mobile network coverage increased from 41 to 87 communities over a 2-year period between the first and second surveys, conducted in 2003 and 2005, respectively. The author finds first that the possession of mobile phone handsets at the household level increases an individual’s chance of leaving his or her rural village to find a job, and second, that mobile phone use increases the chance that an individual will choose migration to a greater degree for individuals who belong to a smaller ethnic group than to a larger group in the capital city, Kampala. App., bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: The impacts of mobile phones and personal networks on rural-to-urban migration: evidence from Uganda
Author: Muto, Megumi
Year: 2012
Periodical: Journal of African Economies (ISSN 0963-8024)
Volume: 21
Issue: 5
Pages: 787-807
Language: English
Geographic term: Uganda
External link: http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/5/787.full.pdf
Abstract: Personal networks can help rural workers find urban jobs. When information flow increases due to the expansion of mobile phone use, the new information flow may strengthen existing types of personal network, such as ethnic networks, or provide opportunities to those who were previously outside of these networks. The author examines the combined impacts of mobile phone use and personal networks by using panel data from 856 households in 94 communities in rural Uganda, where the number of communities with mobile network coverage increased from 41 to 87 communities over a 2-year period between the first and second surveys, conducted in 2003 and 2005, respectively. The author finds first that the possession of mobile phone handsets at the household level increases an individual’s chance of leaving his or her rural village to find a job, and second, that mobile phone use increases the chance that an individual will choose migration to a greater degree for individuals who belong to a smaller ethnic group than to a larger group in the capital city, Kampala. App., bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]