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School of Economics and Finance

No. 923: Home Broadband and Human Capital Formation

Rosa Sanchis-Guarner , Queen Mary University London
José Montalbán , Stockholm University
Felix Weinhardt , European University Viadrina

January 14, 2021

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This paper estimates the effect of home high-speed internet on national test scores of students at age 14. We combine comprehensive information on the telecom network, administrative student records, house prices and local amenities in England in a fuzzy spatial regression discontinuity design across invisible telephone exchange catchment areas. Using this strategy, we find that increasing broadband speed by 1 Mbit/s increases test scores by 1.37 percentile ranks in the years 2005-2008. This effect is sizeable, equivalent to 5% of a standard deviation in the national score distribution, and not driven by other technological mediating factors or school characteristics.

J.E.L classification codes: J24, I21, I28, D83

Keywords:Broadband, Education, Student Performance, Spatial Regression Discontinuity