Mobile Phone Coverage and Producer Markets: Evidence from West Africa

43 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jenny C. Aker

Jenny C. Aker

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Center for Global Development

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2014

Abstract

Mobile phone coverage has expanded considerably throughout the developing world, particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. Existing evidence suggests that increased access to information technology has improved agricultural market efficiency for consumer markets and certain commodities, but there is less evidence of its impact on producer markets. Building on the work of Aker (2010), this paper estimates the impact of mobile phone coverage on producer price dispersion for three commodities in Niger. The results suggest that mobile phone coverage reduces spatial producer price dispersion by 6 percent for cowpea, a semi-perishable commodity. These effects are strongest for remote markets and during certain periods of the year. The introduction of mobile phone coverage has no effect on producer price dispersion for millet and sorghum, two staple grains that are less perishable and are commonly stored by farmers. There are no impacts of mobile phone coverage on traders' gross margins or producer price levels, but mobile phone coverage is associated with a reduction in the intra-annual price variation for cowpea. These results are potentially explained by the fact that farmers engage in greater storage for storable commodities such as millet and sorghum.

Keywords: Document Management & Policies, Information and Records Management, Library Management, Biotechnology, Innovation, Information Architecture, Scientific Research & Science Parks, Technology Innovation, Competitiveness and Competition Policy, Information Policy & Strategy, Document Management, Technology Industry, Science Policies, Science Education, Science Mathematics and Technology, Competition Policy, Library Management & Policies, Scientific Information & Communications Technologies, Information Policy, Document & Information Identifiers, General Technology

Suggested Citation

Aker, Jenny C. and Fafchamps, Marcel, Mobile Phone Coverage and Producer Markets: Evidence from West Africa (July 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6986, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2475073

Jenny C. Aker (Contact Author)

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Center for Global Development ( email )

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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