Digital Literacy and Long-Term Labor Outcomes

Impacts from the One Laptop per Child Program in Costa Rica


  • Jaime Meza-Cordero University of Southern California



Program Evaluation, Technology Adoption, Education Inputs, Economic Development, One Laptop per Child


Technological skills are critical for high-productivity occupations. Between 2012 and 2017, a selected group of primary schools in Costa Rica were provided with one laptop per enrolled student. This paper evaluates this ambitious intervention by elucidating the effects on students’ educational and labor market aspirations, school outcomes, and time allocation after six years of access to a computer with connectivity. Using baseline, midline, and endline primary data from program participants and a control group, and a difference-in-difference strategy, this study shows that the program influenced treated students to increase their school motivation, their target education completion, and their intention to migrate in adulthood. The results do not find conclusive evidence of positive change toward pursuing computer science-related occupations or office-based jobs. The findings show evidence of a significant increase in computer usage for treated children but no impacts on the time spent performing homework, outdoor activities, and home chores.






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