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El trimestre económico

versão On-line ISSN 2448-718Xversão impressa ISSN 0041-3011


MELO, Gioia de; MACHADO, Alina  e  MIRANDA, Alfonso. The Impact on Learning of a One Laptop per Child Program. Evidence from Uruguay. El trimestre econ [online]. 2017, vol.84, n.334, pp.383-409. ISSN 2448-718X.


In recent years many countries have made substantial investments in One Laptop per Child (OLPC) programs, while others are about to start implementing this type of interventions. This paper contributes to the study of the effect of OLPC programs on students reading and math scores using a quasiexperimental design and data from Uruguay, the first country to implement an OLPC program at a national scale: Plan CEIBAL.


We use a difference-in-difference strategy (DiD) to estimate the impact of Plan CEIBAL on educational achievement. The analysis exploits the fact that the rollover of the program was based on geographic criteria and not on students’ school performance. The exact date at which each student received the laptop is available. This gives us the ability to calculate with no error a continuous measure of treatment as the number of days that each student has been exposed to the program by the time of the follow-up date (normalized to years). We control for potential systematic differences in school improvement over time between schools in Montevideo (the capital of Uruguay) and the rest of Uruguay.


Our findings suggest that the program did not have an impact on reading and math scores. We also do not find heterogeneous effects across children with different mother’s education. When analyzing descriptive data on the frequency of laptop use during class, we observe that everyday use of laptops in class is not widespread across all public schools. Besides, laptops’ main use in class is to search for information in the internet rather than for training using drills and exercises. A particularly important feature of the program is that teacher training has been, up to now, optional.


Our results suggest that in the first two years of its implementation Plan CEIBAL had no effects on math or reading scores.

Palavras-chave : technology; education; impact evaluation.

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