We evaluate the impact of a major European state aid program for broadband deployment applied to rural areas in the German State of Bavaria in the years 2010 and 2011. Using difference-in-differences estimation strategies, we find that aided municipalities have – depending on broadband quality – a between 16.8 and 23.2 percent higher broadband coverage than non-aided municipalities. This increase in broadband coverage – closing the digital divide – results in an increase of on average seven employed individuals living in the respective aid-receiving municipalities while leaving the number of employed or selfemployed individuals or wages unaffected. We therefore conclude that an increase in broadband coverage through state aid prevents rural areas from depopulation, but does not contribute to a further closing of the economic divide in the form of creating new jobs.
Briglauer, Wolfgang, Niklas Dürr, Oliver Falck and Kai Hüschelrath (2016), Does State Aid for Broadband Deployment in Rural Areas Close the Digital and Economic Divide?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 16-064, Mannheim. Download