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The asymmetric effect of internet access on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa: Insight from a dynamic panel threshold regression

Abdulqadir, Idris and Asongu, Simplice (2021): The asymmetric effect of internet access on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa: Insight from a dynamic panel threshold regression.

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Abstract

This article investigates the asymmetric effect of internet access (index of the internet) on economic growth in 42 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries over the period 2008-2018. The estimation procedure is obtained following a dynamic panel threshold regression technique via 1000 bootstrap replications and the 400 grids search developed by Hansen (1996, 1999, 2000). The investigation first explores the presence of inflection points in the relationship between internet access and economic growth through the application of Hansen's threshold models. The finding from the nonlinearity threshold model revealed a significant internet threshold-effect of 3.55 percent for growth. The article also examines the linear short-run effect of internet access on economic growth while controlling for the effects of private sector credit, trade openness, government regulation, and tariff regimes. The marginal effect of internet access is evaluated at the minimum, and the maximum levels of government regulation and tariffs regime are positive. On the other hand, the minimum and maximum levels of private sector credit and trade openness are negative via the interaction terms. The article advances the literature by its nonlinear transformation of the relevance of internet access on economic growth by exploring interactive mechanisms of: internet access versus financial resource, internet access versus trade, internet access versus government regulation, and internet access versus the tariff regimes from end-user subscriptions. In policy terms, the statistical significance of the joint impact of government regulations and tariff regimes is relevant in the operation of the telecommunication industry in SSA countries.

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