Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Bradley S. Wimmer

Second Committee Member

Ian McDonough

Third Committee Member

Stephen Miller

Fourth Committee Member

Seungmook Choi

Number of Pages



The United States government has been funding infrastructure expansions and upgrades to bring Internet access to schools and households. While this broadband funding has increased access and adoption, it is unclear how improvements in Internet access affect student performance because Internet access has both productivity and distraction effects. The Internet provides students with access to vast amounts of educational content, instructional videos and other valuable resources that increase productivity. It also provides students access to social media, video games and other forms of entertainment that distract students and reduce student performance. While the literature shows that advances in technology (computers) and Internet access improve firm performance (Brynjolfsson and Hitt 1996), recent studies find that increased access to the Internet has almost no effect on student performance. Using a dataset of 247 counties in Texas with broadband penetration and graduation rates in public schools in 2000, 2010 and 2017, I find that a 10 percentage-point increase in broadband penetration is associated with a statistically significant 1.83 percentage-point increase in graduation rates after correcting for endogeneity. This result differs from what other published literature find on this topic.


Broadband; Graduation Rates; School Performance



Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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Economics Commons