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Are Classroom Internet Use and Academic Performance Higher after Government Broadband Subsidies to Primary Schools?

Author

Listed:
  • Marie Hyland

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin; Trinity College Dublin)

  • Richard Layte

    (Trinity College Dublin; Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Seán Lyons

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin Trinity College Dublin)

  • Selina McCoy

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin Trinity College Dublin)

  • Mary Silles

    (University of Hull, United Kingdom)

Abstract

This paper combines data from a government programme providing broadband access to primary schools in Ireland with anonymised survey microdata on schools’, teachers’ and pupils use of the internet to examine the links between public subsidies, classroom use of the internet and educational performance. The microdata are drawn from the 9-year-old cohort of the Growing Up in Ireland Study. We estimate regression models to identify the factors associated with internet use in the classroom and students’ scores on standardised reading and mathematics tests, and we check whether internet use is endogenous in the test score models. We find that provision of broadband service under the government scheme is associated with more than a doubling of teachers’ use of the internet in class after about a two year lag. Better computing facilities in schools are also associated with higher internet use, but advertised download speed is not statistically significant. Internet use in class is associated with significantly higher average mathematics and reading scores on standardised tests. A set of confounding factors is included, with results broadly in line with previous literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie Hyland & Richard Layte & Seán Lyons & Selina McCoy & Mary Silles, 2015. "Are Classroom Internet Use and Academic Performance Higher after Government Broadband Subsidies to Primary Schools?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 46(3), pages 399-428.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:46:y:2015:i:3:p:399-428
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
    2. Cheti Nicoletti & Birgitta Rabe, 2012. "The effect of school resources on test scores in England," Discussion Papers 12/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny & Solondz, Catharina, 2014. "Public expenditures, educational outcomes and grade inflation: Theory and evidence from a policy intervention in the Netherlands," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 152-166.
    4. Maresa Sprietsma, 2012. "Computers as pedagogical tools in Brazil: a pseudo-panel analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 19-32, November.
    5. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2006. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 336-347, May.
    6. Hægeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2012. "Pennies from heaven? Using exogenous tax variation to identify effects of school resources on pupil achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 601-614.
    7. repec:fth:prinin:455 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Smyth, Emer & McCoy, Selina, 2009. "Investing in Education: Combating Educational Disadvantage," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS006.
    9. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Cited by:

    1. Coyne, Brian & McCoy, Selina, 2016. "The Student Perspective on In-school Personal Electronic Devices and Online Safety: A Qualitative Study," Papers WP547, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. repec:esr:resser:rs51 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Checchi, Daniele & Rettore, Enrico & Girardi, Silvia, 2015. "IC Technology and Learning: An Impact Evaluation of Cl@ssi2.0," IZA Discussion Papers 8986, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Smyth, Emer & McCoy, Selina & Kingston, Gillian, 2015. "Learning from the Evaluation of DEIS," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS39.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    internet use; subsidies; primary education;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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