Smarter without smartphones? : eﬀects of mobile phone bans in schools on academic performance, well-being, and bullying
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- Master Thesis 
Smartphones have become a crucial part of the everyday life of Norwegian children, at school as well as in their spare time. What eﬀect this presence has, is widely debated. As a reaction to this debate, Norwegian schools have implemented a broad variety of mobile phone policies. In this thesis, we are interested in how banning mobile phones on school grounds aﬀects exam results, well-being, and bullying. To answer this, we link survey data from Norwegian lower secondary schools with their respective results on ﬁnal written exams and the Pupil Survey. We use a generalized diﬀerences-in-diﬀerences framework and an event study speciﬁcation to exploit the rollout of mobile phone bans. This enables us to identify a causal eﬀect of a mobile phone ban on student outcomes. The ﬁndings of this thesis indicate no signiﬁcant eﬀect of implementation of a mobile phone ban on academic results or well-being. When dividing the sample into public and private schools, we do, however, ﬁnd that private schools experience a somewhat positive eﬀect of a mobile phone ban on academic performance. Our estimates suggest that a ban causes reduced bullying. This eﬀect is particularly strong for male students and in private schools. This thesis has implications for schools considering implementing a mobile phone ban. If the motivation is increasing test results or well-being, other measures could be examined ﬁrst. A mobile phone ban could, however, be considered if a school seeks to reduce bullying.