May 21, 2022

Research Paper: Temporary Internet Blocking and Shutdowns by Governments Cost Countries $2.4 Billion Last Year”

From a Report by Darrell West, Center for Technology Innovations, Brookings:

West writes:

In recent years, a number of countries have blocked particular applications, shut down specific services (e.g. instant messaging and voice over internet protocol calling), turned off mobile telecommunications services, or disrupted the entire internet. Those actions separate people from their family, friends, and livelihoods, undermine economic growth, interfere with the startup ecosystem, and threaten social stability by interrupting economic activity.

In this paper, I analyze the economic impact of temporary internet shutdowns. I examine 81 short-term shutdowns in 19 countries over the past year (see Appendix for news stories describing these shutdowns); identify their duration, scope, and the population affected; and estimate their impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Based upon this analysis, I find that between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, these shutdowns cost at least US$2.4 billion in GDP globally.

Economic losses include $968 million in India, $465 million in Saudi Arabia, $320 million in Morocco, $209 million in Iraq, $116 million in Brazil, $72 million in the Republic of the Congo, $69 million in Pakistan, $69 million in Bangladesh, $48 million in Syria, $35 million in Turkey, and $20 million in Algeria, among other places. These are conservative estimates that consider only reductions in economic activity and do not account for tax losses or drops in investor, business, and consumer confidence.

Direct to Full Text Report (20 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.