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Learning at Home: Distance Learning Solutions and Child Development during the COVID-19 Lockdown


  • Champeaux, Hugues

    (CERDI, University of Auvergne)

  • Mangiavacchi, Lucia

    (University of Perugia)

  • Marchetta, Francesca

    (CERDI, University of Auvergne)

  • Piccoli, Luca

    (University of Trento)


School closures, forced by the COVID-19 crisis in many countries, impacted on children's lives and their learning process. There will likely be substantial and persistent disparities between families in terms of educational outcomes. Distant learning solutions adopted by schools have been heterogeneous over countries, within countries and between school levels. As a consequence, most of the burden of children's learning fell on their parents, with likely uneven results depending on the socio-economic characteristics of the family. Using a real time survey data collected in April 2020 and early May in France and Italy, we estimate child fixed effects models to analyze how the lockdown has affected children's emotional wellbeing and their home learning process. The analysis also focuses on the role played by online classes or other interactive methods on children's home learning and emotional status. We find that the lockdown had a stronger negative effect on boys, on kids attending kindergarten (in Italy) or secondary school (in France), and on children whose parents have a lower education level. We also find that the increase in the time spent in front of screen is correlated to a worse learning achievement and emotional status, while the opposite is true for the time spent reading. The use of interactive distance learning methodologies, that has been much more common in Italy than in France, appears to significantly attenuate the negative impact on lockdown on the learning progresses of both Italian and French kids.

Suggested Citation

  • Champeaux, Hugues & Mangiavacchi, Lucia & Marchetta, Francesca & Piccoli, Luca, 2020. "Learning at Home: Distance Learning Solutions and Child Development during the COVID-19 Lockdown," IZA Discussion Papers 13819, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13819

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    Cited by:

    1. Dalit Contini & Maria Laura Di Tommaso & Caterina Muratori & Daniela Piazzalunga & Lucia Schiavon, 2021. "The Covid-19 pandemic and school closure: learning loss in mathematics in primary education," CHILD Working Papers Series 97 JEL Classification: I2, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    2. Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2021. "The Legacy of COVID-19 in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 14796, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Yuriy Klapkiv & Tetiana Dluhopolska, 2020. "Changes in the Tertiary Education System in Pandemic Times: Comparison of Ukrainian and Polish Universities," Revista romaneasca pentru educatie multidimensionala - Journal for Multidimensional Education, Editura Lumen, Department of Economics, vol. 12(1Sup2), pages 86-91, June.
    4. Sarah Cattan & Christine Farquharson & Sonya Krutikova & Angus Phimister & Adam Salisbury & Almudena Sevilla, 2021. "Inequalities in responses to school closures over the course of the first COVID-19 lockdown," IFS Working Papers W21/4, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    More about this item


    distance learning; education inequality; children's education; children's time-use; emotional skills; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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