Adopting Mobile Money: Evidence From An Experiment In Rural Africa

Catia Batista

Nova School of Business and Economics, CReAM, IZA and NOVAFRICA

Pedro C Vicente

Nova School of Business and Economics, BREAD and NOVAFRICA

ISSN 2183-0843
Working Paper No 2001
January 2020


Who uses mobile money? And what is mobile money used for? This paper describes the mobile money adoption patterns following the experimental introduction of mobile money services for the first time in rural areas of Southern Mozambique. In particular, we examine the individual characteristics of early and late adopters, as well as their mobile money usage patterns. For this purpose, we use a combination of administrative and household survey data to characterize the adoption of mobile money services in the three years following their initial introduction. We find that a large proportion of the individuals who were offered mobile money services adopted this technology. These users of mobile money (and early adopters in particular) are more educated than non-users, and they also are more likely to already hold a bank account. Positive self-selection of adopters should be considered when introducing mobile money as a tool for rapid financial inclusion.

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This working paper has been accepted for publication in the American Economic Association and the article can be read here.