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Broadband metrics and job productivity: a look at county-level data

Roberto Gallardo (), Brian Whitacre, Indraneel Kumar and Sreedhar Upendram
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Roberto Gallardo: Purdue University Center for Regional Development
Indraneel Kumar: Purdue University Center for Regional Development

The Annals of Regional Science, 2021, vol. 66, issue 1, No 8, 184 pages

Abstract: Abstract The impact of broadband access and use continues to transform the socioeconomic landscape placing this twenty-first century infrastructure at the center of current policymaking discourse. Past studies have found a relationship between infrastructure investments and economic productivity. Recent broadband-related studies, however, have focused on general availability or adoption, and do not distinguish which specific aspect of the technology is most associated with productivity. Utilizing cross-sectional county-level data from 2017 and spatial econometric models, this research looked into better understanding the impact of multiple broadband indicators on job productivity, including innovative broader measures of digital inclusion. Results indicate that broader metrics focused on adoption or digital distress had a larger positive impact on job productivity in comparison to measures focused on speed or availability. Moreover, these impacts vary across urban and rural settings. Although the relationships identified are not necessarily causal, an alternative matching technique generally supports the results. These findings suggest that the relationship between broadband and economic productivity should be viewed from a larger, more comprehensive socioeconomic perspective. Future research should focus on looking at these effects over time and assess how policies focused on specific broadband characteristics have impacted growth.

JEL-codes: O47 R11 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00168-020-01015-0

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