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The Faster the Better? The Effect of Ultra-Fast Broadband on Students’ Performance

Carlo Cambini, Lorien Sabatino and Sarah Zaccagni
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Carlo Cambini: Department of Production and Management Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Lorien Sabatino: Department of Production and Management Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Sarah Zaccagni: Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

No 21-14, CEBI working paper series from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI)

Abstract: In this paper, we study the impact of ultra-fast broadband (UBB) access on student performance. These networks are based on optical fiber, allowing significantly higher speed compared to traditional copper-line connections. Our empirical analysis leverages on a unique dataset that combines information on broadband diffusion with data on student performance in 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade for the period 2012-2017. We exploit the staggered roll-out of UBB, starting from 2015. Through an event study approach, we find evidence of endogeneity between student performance and broadband diffusion. We deal with this issue through an instrumental variable approach that exploits plausibly exogenous variation in the diffusion of the essential UBB input. Our results suggest that ultra-fast connections significantly decrease students’ performance in Mathematics and Italian language in 8th grade. Instead, we do not find any significant effect in 2nd and 5th grade. Male students from low-educated parental backgrounds are those more adversely affected, especially if they attend schools with a low IT usage.

Keywords: ultra-fast broadband; internet; student performance; instrumental variables (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 C26 I21 I28 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 50
Date: 2021-09-16
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eur, nep-ict, nep-isf and nep-ure
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