Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: A Literature Review

25 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2019

See all articles by Simon Amez

Simon Amez

Ghent University

Stijn Baert

Ghent University; University of Antwerp; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


We present the first systematic review of the scientific literature on smartphone use and academic success. We synthesise the theoretical mechanisms, empirical approaches, and empirical findings described in the multidisciplinary literature to date. Our analysis of the literature reveals a predominance of empirical results supporting a negative association between students' frequency of smartphone use and their academic success. However, the strength of this association is heterogeneous by (a) the method of data gathering, (b) the measures of academic performance used in the analysis, and (c) the measures of smartphone use adopted. The main limitation identified in the literature is that the reported associations cannot be given a causal interpretation. Based on the reviewed findings and limitations, directions for further research are discussed.

Keywords: smartphone use, smartphone addiction, academic performance, literature review, causality

JEL Classification: I21, I23, L86

Suggested Citation

Amez, Simon and Baert, Stijn, Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: A Literature Review. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12723. Available at SSRN:

Simon Amez (Contact Author)

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000

Stijn Baert

Ghent University ( email )

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000

HOME PAGE: http://

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348

HOME PAGE: http://

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072


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