The Causal Effect of Mobile Broadband on Earnings Inequality and Employment

37 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021

See all articles by Peter Wang

Peter Wang

Digital Markets Initiative

Date Written: November 1, 2020


Does mobile broadband subscription rates have a positive effect on closing the earnings gap? Examining United States county level data, higher rates of mobile broadband subscription lead to reductions in the earnings gini coefficient. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in mobile broadband subscription rate (8.5%) among counties' adult working population lowers the earnings gini index by 0.018. Additionally, mobile broadband subscription rate increases lead to rising average earnings, is associated with the highest increase in earnings at the 40th to 50th percentile, and has an alleviating effect on annual county level unemployment rates. To ascertain causality, a novel instrumental strategy exploiting county level elevation ruggedness is used to obtain the result. I also find preliminary evidence that mobile broadband raises the average earnings of workers in occupations for which their jobs or tasks are top ranked among mobile jobs platforms postings.

Keywords: Mobile Broadband; Earnings Inequality; Unemployment

JEL Classification: D63; J31; O33

Suggested Citation

Wang, Peter, The Causal Effect of Mobile Broadband on Earnings Inequality and Employment (November 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Peter Wang (Contact Author)

Digital Markets Initiative ( email )

Gainesville, FL
United States

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