Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Telecommunications and Gender Development

I hope to do an econometric study this month on the relationship between the Gender Development index and telecommunications variables.

The GDI is:

"A composite index measuring average achievement in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index—a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living—adjusted to account for inequalities between men and women."

Using telecommunications data on cellular/landline/cable and internet connections per 100 persons for the year 2002 from the International Telecommunications Union, I hope to explain what the feminists call female "empowerment" in terms of knowledge variables unrelated to the index itself.

A friend of mine recently pointed me to a Vodafone study of cellular use in Africa which associates strong economic growth with cellular use. It could be a seemingly unrelated regression, as it's entirely possible that cel phones are due to strong economic growth. But the relationship is still there.

Mobile and land line networks - in addition to the openness of an economy, GDP growth and infrastructure - are positively linked with foreign inward investment, according to the report.

The report said:

"More than 85% of small businesses run by black people, surveyed in South Africa, rely solely on mobile phones for telecommunications.

62% of businesses in South Africa, and 59% in Egypt, said mobile use was linked to an increase in profits - despite higher call costs.

97% of people surveyed in Tanzania said they could access a mobile phone, while just 28% could access a land line phone.

A developing country which has an average of 10 more mobile phones per 100 population between 1996 and 2003 had 0.59% higher GDP growth than an otherwise identical country.

Income, gender, age, education - and even the absence of regular electricity supplies - do not create barriers to mobile access in rural areas, the report said. Handsets are often shared by smaller communities."

You can download the study here.