June 2022

IZA DP No. 15387: Inequality in Internet Access in India: Implications for Learning during COVID

During COVID school closures, learning become mostly restricted to young people who had internet access at home. This paper examines internet access in India using National Sample Survey 2017-18. It probes the extent of inequality in young people's internet access across gender, caste, religion, rural-urban sector, private-public schools, and income group. Our triple-hurdle model of internet use shows that, ceteris paribus, there is a very significant digital divide across many of the social and economic groups. Additionally, intra-household analysis using family fixed effects estimation shows that girls have significantly lower ability to use internet vis-à-vis their brothers within the household.