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Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: First Evidence from Longitudinal Data

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  • Amez, Simon
  • Vujić, Sunčica
  • De Marez, Lieven
  • Baert, Stijn

Abstract

To study the causal impact of smartphone use on academic performance, we collected—for the first time worldwide—longitudinal data on students’ smartphone use and educational performance. For three consecutive years we surveyed all students attending classes in eleven different study programmes at two Belgian universities on general smartphone use and other drivers of academic achievement. These survey data were merged with the exam scores of these students. We analysed the resulting data by means of panel data random effects estimation controlling for unobserved individual characteristics. A one standard deviation increase in overall smartphone use results in a decrease of 0.349 points (out of 20) and a decrease of 2.616 percentage points in the fraction of exams passed.

Suggested Citation

  • Amez, Simon & Vujić, Sunčica & De Marez, Lieven & Baert, Stijn, 2019. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: First Evidence from Longitudinal Data," GLO Discussion Paper Series 438, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:438
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Simon Amez & Stijn Baert, 2019. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: a Literature Review," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/982, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Murphy, Richard, 2016. "Ill Communication: Technology, distraction & student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 61-76.
    3. Stijn Baert & Sunčica Vujić & Simon Amez & Matteo Claeskens & Thomas Daman & Arno Maeckelberghe & Eddy Omey & Lieven De Marez, 2020. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: Correlation or Causal Relationship?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(1), pages 22-46, February.
    4. Matthew A Christensen & Laura Bettencourt & Leanne Kaye & Sai T Moturu & Kaylin T Nguyen & Jeffrey E Olgin & Mark J Pletcher & Gregory M Marcus, 2016. "Direct Measurements of Smartphone Screen-Time: Relationships with Demographics and Sleep," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(11), pages 1-14, November.
    5. Baert, Stijn & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Vermeir, Aurélie, 2015. "Mister Sandman, bring me good marks! On the relationship between sleep quality and academic achievement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 91-98.
    6. Andrew Bell & Malcolm Fairbrother & Kelvyn Jones, 2019. "Fixed and random effects models: making an informed choice," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 1051-1074, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    smartphone use; academic performance; longitudinal data; causality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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