Philip Roessler of The College of William & Mary and Laiah Idelson of ETR both in the U.S. will test whether promoting cooperative mobile phone use in families in low-resource settings can improve household income and welfare. In their recent study, they found that providing a cost-free smartphone to poor households in Tanzania had a significant, positive impact on their economic state. The impact appeared to be catalyzed when both the male and female members of the household shared the smartphone and abolished when male members monopolized it. To investigate this, they will conduct a field study in Tanzania with 300 married young women. Two hundred women will be provided with smartphones, with half of those receiving specifically joint training also for their spouse on the use of digital banking and mobile money, to encourage cooperative use and knowledge-sharing within families. After 10-12 months, they will conduct surveys to evaluate whether cooperative use enhances economic status and health.
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