Inequality and Gender Inclusion: Minimum ICT Policy Thresholds for Promoting Female Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa
Telecommunications Policy, 44(4), 101900 (May, 2020).
31 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019 Last revised: 16 Apr 2020
Date Written: 2019
The study assesses how ICT modulates the effect of inequality on female economic participation in a panel of 42 countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the period 2004-2014. Three inequality indicators are used, namely: the Gini coefficient, the Atkinson index and the Palma ratio. The adopted ICT indicators are mobile phone penetration, internet penetration and fixed broadband subscriptions. Three gender economic inclusion indicators are also used for the analysis, namely: female labour force participation, female unemployment and female employment. The Generalised Method of Moments is employed as empirical strategy. The findings show that enhancing ICT beyond certain thresholds is necessary for ICT to mitigate inequality in order to enhance gender economic participation. First, for female labour force participation, a minimum threshold of 165.714 mobile phone penetration per 100 people is required for the Palma ratio. Second, minimum ICT thresholds for the reduction of female unemployment are: 87.783, 107.486 and 152.500 mobile phone penetration per 100 people for respectively, the Gini coefficient, the Atkinson index and the Palma ratio; 39.618 internet penetration per 100 people for the Atkinson index and 4.500 fixed broadband subscriptions for the Palma ratio. Third, the corresponding ICT thresholds for the promotion of female employment are: 120.369 and 85.533 mobile phone penetration per 100 people for respectively, the Gini coefficient and the Atkinson index and 30.005 internet penetration per 100 people for the Gini coefficient. The established thresholds make economic sense and can be feasibly implemented by policy makers in order to induce favourable effects on gender economic inclusion dynamics.
Keywords: Africa; ICT; Gender; Inclusive Development
JEL Classification: G20; I10; I32; O40; O55
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