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ICT and education: evidence from student home addresses

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  • Faber, Benjamin
  • Sanchis-Guarner, Rosa
  • Weinhardt, Felix

Abstract

Governments are making it a priority to upgrade information and communication technologies (ICT) with the aim to increase available internet connection speeds. This paper presents a new empirical strategy to estimate the causal effects of these policies, and applies it to the questions of whether and how ICT upgrades affect educational attainment. We draw on a rich collection of microdata that allows us to link administrative test score records for the population of English primary and secondary school students to the available ICT at their home addresses. To base estimations on exogenous variation in ICT, we notice that the boundaries of usually invisible telephone exchange station catchment areas give rise to substantial and essentially randomly placed jumps in the available ICT across neighboring residences. Using this design across more than 20,000 boundaries in England, we find that even very large changes in available broadband connection speeds have a precisely estimated zero effect on educational attainment. Guided by a simple model we then bring to bear additional microdata on student time and internet use to quantify the potentially opposing mechanisms underlying the zero reduced form effect. While jumps in the available ICT appear to increase student consumption of online content, we find no significant effects on student time spent studying online or offline, or on their learning productivity.

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  • Faber, Benjamin & Sanchis-Guarner, Rosa & Weinhardt, Felix, 2015. "ICT and education: evidence from student home addresses," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65020, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:65020
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Falck & Constantin Mang & Ludger Woessmann, 2018. "Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, February.
    2. Falck, Oliver & Heimisch-Roecker, Alexandra & Wiederhold, Simon, 2021. "Returns to ICT skills," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
    3. Amaral Garcia, Sofia & Nardotto, Mattia & Propper, Carol & Valletti, Tommaso, 2019. "Mums Go Online: Is the Internet Changing the Demand for Healthcare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13625, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Derksen, Laura & Leclerc, Catherine Michaud & Souza, Pedro CL, 2019. "Searching for Answers: The Impact of Student Access to Wikipedia," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 450, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Pantelis Koutroumpis & Tommaso Valletti, 2017. "Speed 2.0: Evaluating Access to Universal Digital Highways," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 586-625.
    6. Derksen, Laura & Leclerc, Catherine Michaud & Souza, Pedro CL, 2019. "Searching for Answers : The Impact of Student Access to Wikipedia," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1236, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Ofer Malamud, 2019. "The Effect of Home Computers and the Internet on Children’s Human Capital Development," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(02), pages 34-40, August.
    8. Malamud, Ofer & Cueto, Santiago & Cristia, Julian & Beuermann, Diether W., 2019. "Do children benefit from internet access? Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 41-56.
    9. Edquist, Harald & Goodridge, Peter & Haskel, Jonathan, 2019. "Productivity, Network Effects and Telecommunications Capital: Evidence from the US and Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 13910, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Canzian, Giulia & Poy, Samuele & Schüller, Simone, 2019. "Broadband upgrade and firm performance in rural areas: Quasi-experimental evidence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 87-103.
    11. Stephan Heblich, 2016. "The effect of the internet on voting behavior," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 294-294, September.
    12. Grenestam, Erik & Nordin, Martin, 2017. "High-Speed Broadband and Academic Achievement in Teenagers: Evidence from Sweden," Working Papers 2017:17, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 23 Apr 2018.
    13. Hernan Galperin & M. Fernanda Viecens, 2017. "Connected for Development? Theory and evidence about the impact of Internet technologies on poverty alleviation," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 35(3), pages 315-336, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; information and communication technology; internet;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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