Publication - Working Paper
Rapidly adopted in most developing country contexts, mobile technologies have the potential to serve as a broad-distribution platform for other services and products. The extent of their welfare implications remains unknown, and our study aimed to provide information to stakeholders about the possible benefits of adoption for poor and migrant households, as well as ways of boosting adoption among these households.
We found that adoption decisions are significantly influenced by peer effects and pro-social messaging. In particular, we randomised whether migrants received pro-social messaging and whether they made adoption decisions as “second-movers” with respect to their households. We found that pro-social messaging had significant effects on bKash adoption rates. We also found significant effects of being a “second-mover” for women.
Second, we found evidence for positive impacts of bKash use on health outcomes and educational outcomes for children, and also decreases in loan-taking, in rural households. However, the effects for migrants were more mixed. bKash use is marginally significantly associated with greater retention of formal employment but with decreases in health status among migrants.
Finally, we found evidence that in the urban sample, individuals demonstrate a greater willingness-to-pay for products when primed to think about mobile money. By contrast, in the rural sample individuals demonstrated a reduced willingness-to-pay when primed to think about mobile money.