Mobile Telephony, Financial Inclusion and Inclusive Growth
The paper employs the multipurpose nature of mobile telephony to investigate its welfare implications using a large sample of households in Ghana. We use seemingly unrelated probit and instrumental variable procedure to test for two related issues: First, we investigate whether mobile telephony promotes pro-poor development by helping households to efficiently allocate consumption and navigate out of poverty. Second, we analyze whether access to a broad array of financial services enhances the capacity of households to live worthwhile lives. The results show that mobile penetration and financial inclusion significantly reduce the probability of a household becoming poor and increase per capita household consumption of food and non-food items. Our results show that the welfare benefits of mobile telephony and financial inclusion are not more pronounced in female-headed households. These insights serve as useful guide for government and other stakeholders who are looking for avenues to improve livelihoods.