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High-speed broadband, school closures and educational achievements

Boeri, Filippo ORCID: 0000-0001-8249-104X (2023) High-speed broadband, school closures and educational achievements. Geography and Environment Discussion Paper Series (38). Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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In this study, I shed new light on the short-run effects of access to high-speed internet on educational disparities, before and after the pandemic shock. By following 3 million students belonging to 6 different cohorts over the period 2012-2022, I estimate the effect of the broadband infrastructure on student performance. While most previous contributions use discontinuous jumps in the available broadband connection speed across space at a given moment in time, this study exploits the actual roll-out of an infrastructural policy associated with an increase in 30 Mbit/s household broadband coverage from 40% to 80% over a 5-year period. The estimation strategy relies on a unique dataset, combining panel data on student performance with a rich set of school- and student-level information and broadband data measured at a very fine spatial scale. Results show an average null effect of high-speed broadband on 8th grade student performance in both numeracy and maths. However, this results masks substantial heterogeneity: lower performers in grade 5 and students with better backgrounds gain from internet speed, whereas the opposite is true for other students. Interestingly, the stronger effect on low-performers tends to disappear during the lockdown, suggesting a negligible mitigating role for high-speed internet during the period of school closure. On the other hand, the broadband infrastructure might have further amplified the gap between students with different socioeconomic background.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Management
Geography & Environment
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I20 - General
H - Public Economics > H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies > H54 - Infrastructures; Other Public Investment and Capital Stock
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2023 09:03
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:26

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