According to traditional welfare economics welfare occurs at the point where a good is purchased and some amount of utility is assumed to derive therefrom. According to Sen and others however one needs to look in addition to what use is made of the good after purchase. This paper throws new light on this process by means of a large new data-set that examines use patterns of mobile phones in 11 African countries. The main hypothesis is that this technology will be most widely used in countries lacking in viable alternatives to the use of mobile phones e.g. where public transport is weak or roads are poor. The results tend to support this view though there remains much to be explained.
- Consumer theory