The Effect of Cell Phone Use on State Fragility in Southeast Asia
Cellphone use has become an affordable way for individuals to communicate with their communities and access media. This technological development has improved access to resources for low- and middle-income Southeast Asia countries. Even though cellphones have increased capacity, many in this region are threatened by political instability, weak governance, and economic uncertainty. This thesis examines the relationship between cellphone use and state fragility in Southeast Asia between the years 2013 and 2021. We find that there is a statistically significant negative relationship between cellphone use and total state fragility. Our empirical results show that higher cellphone plan subscriptions are associated with a lower fragile state index score. Finally, this thesis finds an inconclusive association between social media with state fragility and internet use with state fragility, which could potentially suggest that increased access to social media and the internet may not necessarily result in durable free governance in Southeast Asia.
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