Discussion paper

DP19120 Digital access and infectious disease spread

Digital access may bring important health gains, particularly where physical infrastructure is limited. We examine the impact of internet access in Indonesia on health outcomes using the COVID-19 pandemic as a health shock. We utilize sub-national data on mobile broadband, COVID-19 spread, and an instrumental variable approach using lightning strikes as an exogenous shock to connectivity. Access to 3G internet significantly reduced the transmission of COVID-19. Areas with internet access had approximately 45\% fewer cases. Regions with higher literacy and capacity for telework benefited significantly more. These findings offer novel insights into how digital infrastructure affects public health outcomes.


Kunz, J, C Propper and T Trinh (2024), ‘DP19120 Digital access and infectious disease spread‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 19120. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp19120