Does ICT in schools affect residential adoption and adult utilization outside schools?
Policymakers around the world are considering whether to invest in putting information and communication technology (ICT) in schools, and how. While educational impact is likely to be the primary objective, such investments can also affect residential adoption and adult utilization of ICT in the communities, thereby reducing the digital divide. Using a census survey of Thailand for a time when ICT was available in roughly half of the nation’s schools, this study employs logistic regression and propensity score matching (PSM) to show that placing ICT in schools does have significant spill-over effects outside schools. This effect is larger for ICT in primary schools than secondary schools, and larger in schools with both Internet and computers than schools with just computers. The effects are observed in households of all incomes and educational levels. Considering these spill-over effects when allocating resources should lead to greater welfare gains for the amount of resources spent. The study also finds that there is a sizable portion of the adult population that chooses not to use ICT even after adopting this ICT in their households for their children, thereby eliminating any barriers to use related to cost and convenience. For this group, policy-makers should seek ways to decrease other impediments to ICT use, such as increasing ICT literacy through training.