An empirical analysis of user content generation and usage behavior on the mobile Internet

Anindya Ghose, Sang Pil Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


We quantify how user mobile Internet usage relates to unique characteristics of the mobile Internet. In particular, we focus on examining how the mobile-phone-based content generation behavior of users relates to content usage behavior. The key objective is to analyze whether there is a positive or negative interdependence between the two activities. We use a unique panel data set that consists of individual-level mobile Internet usage data that encompass individual multimedia content generation and usage behavior. We combine this knowledge with data on user calling patterns, such as duration, frequency, and locations from where calls are placed, to construct their social network and to compute their geographical mobility. We build an individuallevel simultaneous equation panel data model that controls for the different sources of endogeneity of the social network. We find that there is a negative and statistically significant temporal interdependence between content generation and usage. This finding implies that an increase in content usage in the previous period has a negative impact on content generation in the current period and vice versa. The marginal effect of this interdependence is stronger on content usage (up to 8.7%) than on content generation (up to 4.3%). The extent of geographical mobility of users has a positive effect on their mobile Internet activities. Users more frequently engage in content usage compared to content generation when they are traveling. In addition, the variance of user mobility has a stronger impact on their mobile Internet activities than does the mean. We also find that the social network has a strong positive effect on user behavior in the mobile Internet. These analyses unpack the mechanisms that stimulate user behavior on the mobile Internet. Implications for shaping user mobile Internet usage behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1691
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Content generation
  • Content usage
  • Geographical mobility
  • Identification
  • Interdependence
  • Mobile Internet
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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