Learning mobile money in social networks: comparing a rural and urban region in Uganda

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Abstract

Mobile financial services help to improve people's lives in developing countries. Recent studies suggest that the lack of skills to use mobile devices is a substantial barrier in the adoption and diffusion of mobile financial services. How inhabitants of developing countries learn skills is largely unknown. We present a field-study of learning mobile money skills using a sample of the Ugandan population. The study sample consists of 208 inhabitants from an urban area, and 526 inhabitants from a rural area. The data shows that in both studies, learning is better explained by social network characteristics compared to attributes of the individual. In particular, individuals' profit from people in their network if those network connections are skillful, regardless of how skilled the learner is. Our results suggest that on top of this direct learning effect, learning happens at an accelerated rate in networks that consist of skilled people. Comparing the rural and urban sample, we find that network effects are more substantial in the rural area relative to the urban area. The results further reveal that individuals with higher education and better mobile phone skills are less dependent on their networks in learning how to use mobile money.

LanguageEnglish
Pages214-225
Number of pages12
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

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Uganda
Social Support
Learning
Developing countries
Developing Countries
Mobile phones
Mobile devices
Profitability
Education
Cell Phones
Mobile Learning
Social Networks
Equipment and Supplies
Population

Keywords

  • Developing country
  • Mobile money
  • Mobile phone
  • Skills
  • Social learning
  • Social networks

Cite this

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abstract = "Mobile financial services help to improve people's lives in developing countries. Recent studies suggest that the lack of skills to use mobile devices is a substantial barrier in the adoption and diffusion of mobile financial services. How inhabitants of developing countries learn skills is largely unknown. We present a field-study of learning mobile money skills using a sample of the Ugandan population. The study sample consists of 208 inhabitants from an urban area, and 526 inhabitants from a rural area. The data shows that in both studies, learning is better explained by social network characteristics compared to attributes of the individual. In particular, individuals' profit from people in their network if those network connections are skillful, regardless of how skilled the learner is. Our results suggest that on top of this direct learning effect, learning happens at an accelerated rate in networks that consist of skilled people. Comparing the rural and urban sample, we find that network effects are more substantial in the rural area relative to the urban area. The results further reveal that individuals with higher education and better mobile phone skills are less dependent on their networks in learning how to use mobile money.",
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