Better access to mobile Internet “increases the desire to emigrate”

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As the availability of 3G internet increases in a region or a country, the desire to emigrate of the people also increases, which also has an impact on people’s emigration plans in the next year. .

Researchers believe that the improved mobile internet speeds brought by 3G allow easier, faster and cheaper access to information, which motivates people to emigrate. The effect is most acute among people in high-income countries and among people with above-median incomes in lower-middle-income countries.

The results were revealed in the working paper “Mobile Internet Access and the Desire to Emigrate”, co-authored by Dr Cevat Giray Aksoy (King’s College London), Joop Adema (Leibniz Institute for Economic Research) and Professor Panu Poutvaara (Leibniz Institute for Economic Research).

Dr Aksoy said: “The average increase in 3G coverage between 2008 and 2018 was 36% across the 2,120 sub-national regions we looked at. Our estimates suggest that such an increase is associated with an increase of 0.21 to 1.82 percentage points in the desire to emigrate permanently. .

“Our estimates imply that in a country of 10 million adult people, moving from no 3G coverage to full coverage would increase the number of people willing to emigrate from 56,000 to 486,000 and planning to emigrate from 200 to 176,000″.

Dr Aksoy added that improved mobile internet access also reduces perceived material well-being and also erodes trust in government and that such increased discontent could be an additional channel through which the access to mobile Internet increased the desire and the plans to emigrate.

For the study, the researchers used two unique datasets: Gallup World Polls and Collins Bartholomew’s Mobile Coverage. Their combination allowed the researchers to draw on data from 617,402 people living in 2,120 subnational regions in 112 countries, collected over 11 years.

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More information:
Mobile internet access and the desire to emigrate

Provided by King’s College London

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Casey J. Nelson