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Do Children Benefit from Internet Access? Experimental Evidence from Peru (WP-18-30)

Ofer Malamud, Santiago Cueto, Julian Cristia, and Diether W. Beuermann

This paper provides experimental evidence for the impact of home internet access on a broad range of child outcomes in Peru. The researchers compare children who were randomly chosen to receive laptops with high-speed internet access to (i) those who did not receive laptops and (ii) those who only received laptops without internet. They find that providing free internet access led to improved computer and internet proficiency relative to those without laptops and improved internet proficiency compared to those with laptops only. However, there were no significant effects of internet access on math and reading achievement, cognitive skills, self-esteem, teacher perceptions, or school grades when compared to either group. They explore reasons for the absence of impacts on these key outcomes with survey questions, time-diaries, and computer logs.

Ofer Malamud, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Santiago Cueto, Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE) and Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru

Julian Cristia, Inter-American Development Bank

Diether W. Beuermann, Inter-American Development Bank

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