Title:If You Fund It, Will They Come? The Impact of Broadband Technology Opportunities Program on County Employment
Award_Name:Yale M. Braunstein Student Prize Award
TitleEtc:, Ph.D. Student, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Abstract:The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is a 4.7-billion-dollar investment program which supported various projects throughout the U.S. to improve Internet access and broadband services in unserved or underserved areas. Although the most direct goal of the program was to improve Internet access and promote broadband adoption, increasing employment in the places covered by the program is also a central goal of the investment. Using the multivariate OLS regression method, this study examines and compares the effects of the three different types of BTOP projects on the change in the unemployment rate in 390 counties selected from a stratified sampling technique. The results of the analysis show that the presence of Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) projects in a county was associated with a 0.14 – 0.25 percentage point greater decrease in the unemployment rate. Some positive effects of the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) projects were also discovered. A county covered by such projects would experience a 0.1 – 0.26 percentage point greater decrease in the unemployment rate. The analysis also reveals that the effect of SBA projects was immediate but tended to be short-lived, whereas the effect of CCI projects tended to last longer. The study does not detect any significant effect of the Public Computer Centers projects on the decrease in county unemployment rate.