Mobile Internet Access and Political Outcomes: Evidence from South Africa

44 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2023 Last revised: 7 Jun 2023

See all articles by Dante Donati

Dante Donati

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Marketing

Date Written: February 10, 2020

Abstract

I exploit the staggered introduction of 3G mobile Internet technology across South Africa to estimate its impact on political participation, electoral competition, voters’ preferences, and protests. Combining granular coverage data with administrative records on municipal elections, I show that in 2016 mobile Internet availability caused a 2-percentage-point increase in voter turnout and a 3-percentage-point reduction in the vote share of the ruling party. The main opponents gained from mobile Internet arrival. The number of parties running for election and the number of protests grew. I provide suggestive evidence that both information and coordination mechanisms could explain the observed results.

Keywords: Media, Mobile Internet, Municipal elections, Political outcomes

JEL Classification: D72, D73, L86, P16

Suggested Citation

Donati, Dante, Mobile Internet Access and Political Outcomes: Evidence from South Africa (February 10, 2020). Donati, D., 2023. Mobile Internet access and political outcomes: Evidence from South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 162, p.103073., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4362322 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4362322

Dante Donati (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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