Mobile Payment Services, Government Involvement, and Mobile Network Operator Performance

Yan Dong, Sining Song, Fan Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Problem definition: Recent developments in mobile payment services (MPS) have shown an increasing role of mobile-government (m-government) initiatives in improving the market performance of mobile network operators (MNOs) and financial inclusion. High costs and operational challenges have discouraged MNOs from fully committing to the development of MPS, but government involvement under m-government may increase MNO user bases by providing the scale and scope necessary to incentivize MNOs. Academic/practical relevance: Extant research on mobile payment has ignored the role of governments as important stakeholders in the mobile financial ecosystem. Our research contributes to the literature by examining the role of governments as business partners in MPS launches and the effect of government involvement on MNO user bases. Methodology: Using a unique proprietary data set from the mobile network industry, we design a quasi-experiment to examine the causal effects of government involvement in MPS on MNOs’ total mobile connections. More importantly, we adopt a changes-in-changes (CIC) estimation approach to further establish nonlinear treatment effects of government involvement based on MNO size and MPS type. Results: We find that government involvement expands MNO user bases beyond MPS launches. Such effects increase with MNO size and MPS variety, favoring larger MNOs and, to a certain degree, MNOs with diverse offerings of government-involved MPS. Government involvement in MPS launches also directly benefits MNOs with microloan services. In addition, government regulations and policies to encourage financial inclusion can also expand MNO user bases. Managerial implications: Governments play a critical role in promoting technologies and financial services both as a regulator and as a business partner. To improve market performance, MNOs should take advantage of the scale and scope of government services by partnering with government agencies in launching MPS. MNOs should also embrace government policies and regulations to increase user bases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2002-2020
Number of pages19
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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