Information, Mobile Telephony, and Traders' Search Behavior in Niger

16 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020

See all articles by Jesse Tack

Jesse Tack

Kansas State University

Jenny C. Aker

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

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

Information and communications technologies have spread rapidly in developing countries. We investigate the impact of mobile phones on traders' search behavior in Niger by constructing a theoretical model of search in which traders engage in sequential search for the optimal sales price. Using a trader panel dataset spanning 2005–2007, we find empirical support for the model in that the duration of mobile phone coverage is associated with increased search activity. This effect evolves dynamically over time and is stronger for larger traders, who engage in arbitrage over longer distances. Results provide empirical evidence for the observed linkages between mobile telephony and price dispersion.

Keywords: Africa, development, information, information technology, search costs, Niger

Suggested Citation

Tack, Jesse and Aker, Jenny C., Information, Mobile Telephony, and Traders' Search Behavior in Niger (October 2014). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 96, Issue 5, pp. 1439-1454, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aau063

Jesse Tack (Contact Author)

Kansas State University ( email )

Manhatten, KS 66506-4001
United States

Jenny C. Aker

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

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