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Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction & Student Performance

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  • Louis-Philippe Beland
  • Richard Murphy

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of schools banning mobile phones on student test scores. By surveying schools in four English cities regarding their mobile phone policies and combining it with administrative data, we find that student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases post ban. We use a difference in differences (DID) strategy, exploiting variations in schools' autonomous decisions to ban these devices, conditioning on a range of student characteristics and prior achievement. Our results indicate that these increases in performance are driven by the lowest-achieving students. This suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis-Philippe Beland & Richard Murphy, 2015. "Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction & Student Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp1350, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1350
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    Cited by:

    1. Markus Stauff, 2016. "Taming Distraction: The Second Screen Assemblage, Television and the Classroom," Media and Communication, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 185-198.
    2. Patterson, Richard W. & Patterson, Robert M., 2017. "Computers and productivity: Evidence from laptop use in the college classroom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 66-79.
    3. Carter, Susan Payne & Greenberg, Kyle & Walker, Michael S., 2017. "The impact of computer usage on academic performance: Evidence from a randomized trial at the United States Military Academy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 118-132.
    4. Baert, Stijn & Vujic, Suncica & Amez, Simon & Claeskens, Matteo & Daman, Thomas & Maeckelberghe, Arno & Omey, Eddy & De Marez, Lieven, 2018. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: Correlation or Causal Relationship?," IZA Discussion Papers 11455, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mobile phones; technology; student performance; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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