Wired and Hired: Employment Effects of Subsidized Broadband Internet for Low-Income Americans
69 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 16, 2019
We present evidence on the relationship between broadband pricing and labor market outcomes for low-income individuals. Specifically, we estimate the effects of a Comcast service providing discounted broadband to qualifying low-income families. We use a triple differences strategy exploiting geographic variation in Comcast coverage, individual variation in eligibility, and temporal variation pre- and post-launch. Program enrollment increases the probability that an eligible low-income individual is employed by 4.4 percentage points (7.8%), driven by greater labor force participation and decreased probability of unemployment. Internet use increased substantially where the program was available, narrowing the income-broadband gap by at least 40 percent.
Keywords: Employment, Poverty, Inequality, Technology
JEL Classification: J08, J68
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation