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The impact of public library use on reading, television, and academic outcomes

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  • Bhatt, Rachana
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    Abstract

    Do individuals engage in beneficial activities, like recreational reading, if the necessary materials are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive? I investigate this issue by estimating how much reading time increases as a result of public library use. To address the endogeneity of library use I use an IV approach where the instrument is a household's distance to their closest public library. Using data from the Current Population Survey, American Time Use Survey, and National Household Education Survey, I find that library use increases the amount of time an individual spends reading by approximately 27 min on an average day. Moreover, it increases the amount of time parents spend reading to/with young children by 14 min. This increase in reading is more than offset by a 59 min decrease in time spent watching television, and there is no significant change in time spent on other activities. For children in school, library use positively impacts homework completion rates. A simple cost-benefit exercise highlights the potential application of these results for local governments who fund these libraries.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 148-166

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:68:y:2010:i:2:p:148-166

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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    Keywords: Public libraries Reading and education Leisure activities Public goods Reading Academic achievements;

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    1. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & Wachter, Till von, 2005. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," IZA Discussion Papers 1645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Betts, Julian R, 1995. "Does School Quality Matter? Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 231-50, May.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher US Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 8210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
    6. Jorn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2008. "Zero returns to compulsory schooling in Germany: evidence and interpretation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 19509, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
    8. Michael Waldman & Sean Nicholson & Nodir Adilov, 2006. "Does Television Cause Autism?," NBER Working Papers 12632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Carpenter, Christopher & Cook, Philip J., 2008. "Cigarette taxes and youth smoking: New evidence from national, state, and local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 287-299, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Witte, Kristof De & Geys, Benny, 2011. "Evaluating efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from a generalised conditional efficiency model for public libraries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 319-327, May.
    2. De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny, 2012. "Citizen coproduction and efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from local public libraries," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism", Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) SP II 2012-108, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Bekkerman, Anton & Gilpin, Gregory, 2013. "High-speed Internet growth and the demand for locally accessible information content," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-10.

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