Personal networks can help rural workers find urban jobs. When information flow increases due to the expansion of mobile phone use, the new information flow may strengthen existing types of personal network, such as ethnic networks, or provide opportunities to those who were previously outside of these networks. We examine the combined impacts of mobile phone use and personal networks by using panel data from 856 households in 94 communities in rural Uganda, where the number of communities with mobile network coverage increased from 41 to 87 communities over a 2-year period between the first and second surveys, conducted in 2003 and 2005, respectively. We find first that the possession of mobile phone handsets at the household level increases an individual's chance of leaving his or her rural village to find a job, and second, that mobile phone use increases the chance that an individual will choose migration to a greater degree for individuals who belong to a smaller ethnic group than to a larger group in the capital city, Kampala.
That is from the paper "The impacts of mobile phone and personal networks on migration: evidence from Uganda" by Megumi Muto, published in the recent number of the Journal of African Economies (November 2012). A draft is here.