The Impact of Mobile Money on Poor Rural Households: Experimental Evidence from Uganda

37 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019

See all articles by Christina Wieser

Christina Wieser

World Bank

Miriam Bruhn

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Johannes Philipp Kinzinger

Independent

Christian Simon Ruckteschler

Independent

Soren Heitmann

Independent

Date Written: June 25, 2019

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of rolling out mobile money agents in rural Northern Uganda. In a randomized experiment, 168 areas were randomly selected to receive an agent in 2017, with another 163 areas serving as a control group. Administrative data on mobile money transactions suggest that the agent rollout increased the probability of sending and receiving peer-to-peer transfers. Data from a 2018 survey of more than 4,500 households show that the agent rollout led to cost-savings for remittance transactions. It also doubled the nonfarm self-employment rate, from 3.4 to 6.4 percent, and reduced the fraction of households with very low food security from 62.9 to 47.2 percent, in areas far from a bank branch. The analysis finds no effect on savings, agricultural outcomes, or poverty. Overall, the findings add new evidence that mobile money can improve livelihoods even in poor and remote settings.

Keywords: ICT Economics, Inequality, Employment and Unemployment, Transport Services, Nutrition, Food Security

Suggested Citation

Wieser, Christina and Bruhn, Miriam and Kinzinger, Johannes Philipp and Ruckteschler, Christian Simon and Heitmann, Soren, The Impact of Mobile Money on Poor Rural Households: Experimental Evidence from Uganda (June 25, 2019). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8913, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430525

Christina Wieser (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Miriam Bruhn

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Soren Heitmann

Independent

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