MPIDR Working Paper

Mobile phone network and migration: evidence from Myanmar

Ciacci, R., García-Hombrados, J., Zainudeen, A.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2020-016, 28 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (April 2020)
Revised May 2020
Open Access


This study explores the effect of the expansion of mobile phone signal on migrationdecisions in Myanmar. The empirical strategy proposed follows Manacorda and Tesei (2019) and Andersen et al. (2011), it uses variation in lightning frequency across spaceas an instrumental variable for the expansion of mobile phone signal. Our results suggest that longer exposure to mobile phone network decreases migration. Specifically, an increase of 1 s.d. in the time exposed to mobile phone signal diminishes the probability of household members to migrate by 17%. We find empirical evidencesuggesting that such findings are driven by the positive effects of access to mobilephone signal on labor market outcomes and on perceived well-being.

Keywords: Burma/Myanmar, migration
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.