UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Brian Dillon, Cornell University

How Important is the Yellow Pages? Experimental Evidence from Tanzania

Date and Location

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Conference Room, 2102 Social Sciences and Humanities


Mobile phones reduce communication costs with known parties, but may not reduce
search costs for new contacts. We describe a two-sided randomized control trial in Tanzania, centered on a “Yellow Pages” phone directory. Listed enterprises saw increases in
customer contact, sales, and employment. We find positive enterprise spillovers within
villages, and no spillovers between villages. Recipient households were more likely to
rent land and hire labor, had lower rates of crop failure, and sold crops for weakly
higher prices. Contact information has a unique role to play in facilitating search and
increasing investment in economies recently transformed by mobile phones.

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