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The effects of home access to technology on computer skills: Evidence from a field experiment

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.

Abstract

Computer skills are important for educational and labor market success. This paper examines whether disparities in access to home computers are limiting the acquisition of computer skills. To address problems with selection bias, I use data from a randomized field experiment providing free computers for home use to community college students. I find that the treatment group of low-income students receiving free computers has significantly higher levels of computer skills than the control group of low-income students not receiving free computers. The “intent-to-treat” estimates indicate an increase in high-level computer skills of 17% points, and the LATE estimates indicate a range of 19–23% points. The results are robust to estimation strategy, measurement of the dependent variable, and inclusion of different sets of controls. The benefits appear to be the strongest among young, minority, low-income, and female students.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 243-253

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:24:y:2012:i:3:p:243-253

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

Related research

Keywords: Computers; Digital divide; Computer skills;

References

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  1. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2010. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 15814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
  3. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 2013. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students," CESifo Working Paper Series 4523, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wossmann, 2004. "Computers and student learning: bivariate and multivariate evidence on the availability and use of computers at home and at school," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(3-4), pages 359-386.
  5. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "The Internet and Job Search," NBER Working Papers 13886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Race, internet usage, and e-commerce," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 7-22, December.
  8. Robert W. Fairlie & Daniel O. Beltran & Kuntal K. Das, 2010. "HOME COMPUTERS AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES: EVIDENCE FROM THE NLSY97 and CPS-super-," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 771-792, 07.
  9. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2007. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," CEPR Discussion Papers 6059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Schmitt, John & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2006. "Is there an impact of household computer ownership on children's educational attainment in Britain?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 659-673, December.
  12. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, January.
  13. Prince, Jeffrey T., 2009. "How do households choose quality and time to replacement for a rapidly improving durable good?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 302-311, March.
  14. Vergara, Sebastián & Rovira, Sebastián & Balboni, Mariana, 2011. "ICT in Latin America: A Microdata Analysis," MPRA Paper 34598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Kuhn, Peter J. & Mansour, Hani, 2011. "Is Internet Job Search Still Ineffective?," IZA Discussion Papers 5955, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2006. "Are Computers At Home A Form Of Consumption Or An Investment? A Longitudinal Analysis For Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(1), pages 69-86.
  17. Goldfarb, Avi & Prince, Jeff, 2008. "Internet adoption and usage patterns are different: Implications for the digital divide," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 2-15, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Bet, German & Cristia, Julián P. & Ibarrarán, Pablo, 2014. "The Effects of Shared School Technology Access on Students Digital Skills in Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 7954, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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