The Impact of Brazil’s 'Broadband at School Program' on Student Achievement
40 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2014 Last revised: 23 Sep 2014
Date Written: March 24, 2014
In the past decade policymakers in many countries have implemented programs to expand access to broadband in public schools. Instituted in 2008, the “Broadband at School” federal program in Brazil aimed to bring broadband to all urban public elementary and middle schools in the country by the end of 2010, beneficiating more than 64,000 schools, while maintaining the service free of charge until 2025. This paper uses the data collected by the “Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira” (National Institute of Educational Research Anísio Teixeira), or INEP, in 2007, 2009 and 2011 to examine the effect of “Broadband at School” program on students’ academic performance. Using the system generalized method-of-moments panel data estimator, the paper assesses the impact of the program on the improvement of schools’ average Portuguese and mathematics standardized scores of 9th graders in all public schools. The identification strategy is based on the panel aspect of the data and on the fact that there is no evidence, neither in the data nor in the laws that regulate the implementation of this policy, that school participation is endogenous. Precision is improved by controlling for an extensive student, instructor, and school level variables such as household assets, parental education and involvement with student activities, the school physical infrastructure, safety, electronic equipment and library as well as teachers’ academic history and experience. Results indicate that schools that participate in the program have higher average Portuguese and mathematics scores. Besides, the longer a school has been enrolled in the program, as measured by the number of months, the larger is the effect.
Keywords: Internet access, academic performance, system GMM
JEL Classification: I25, H52, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation