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ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses

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  • Benjamin Faber
  • Rosa Sanchis-Guarner
  • Felix Weinhardt

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Faber & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & Felix Weinhardt, 2015. "ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses," NBER Working Papers 21306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21306
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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. Wiederhold, Simon & Falck, Oliver & Heimisch, Alexandra, 2015. "Returns to ICT Skills," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112803, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Stephan Heblich, 2016. "The effect of the internet on voting behavior," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 294-294, September.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:bla:devpol:v:35:y:2017:i:3:p:315-336 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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