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Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement

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  • Jacob L. Vigdor
  • Helen F. Ladd

Abstract

Does differential access to computer technology at home compound the educational disparities between rich and poor? Would a program of government provision of computers to early secondary school students reduce these disparities? We use administrative data on North Carolina public school students to corroborate earlier surveys that document broad racial and socioeconomic gaps in home computer access and use. Using within-student variation in home computer access, and across-ZIP code variation in the timing of the introduction of high-speed internet service, we also demonstrate that the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores. Further evidence suggests that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden, rather than narrow, math and reading achievement gaps.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16078.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16078

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  1. John E. DiNardo & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," NBER Working Papers 5606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fiorini, M., 2010. "The effect of home computer use on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 55-72, February.
  3. Rouse, Cecilia Elena & Krueger, Alan B., 2004. "Putting computerized instruction to the test: a randomized evaluation of a "scientifically based" reading program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 323-338, August.
  4. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2006. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 336-347, May.
  5. Beltran, Daniel O. & Das, Kuntal K. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2006. "Do Home Computers Improve Educational Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Current Population Surveys and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997," IZA Discussion Papers 1912, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-1989," NBER Working Papers 3858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
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  1. Laptops, niños y Darth Vader
    by Francisco Mejía in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2014-09-19 11:30:35
  2. Development that Works: Laptops, children and Darth Vader
    by Francisco Mejía in Eval Central on 2014-09-19 11:40:35
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Cited by:
  1. Fairlie, Robert W. & Grunberg, Samantha H., 2013. "Access to Technology and the Transfer Function of Community Colleges: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Robert W. Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," CESifo Working Paper Series 4128, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Ludger Wößmann, 2011. "Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseen Technological Mistake," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 392, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Bekkerman, Anton & Gilpin, Gregory, 2013. "High-speed Internet growth and the demand for locally accessible information content," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-10.
  5. Robert Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes. Evidence from a Field Experiment with Schoolchildren," Working Papers 11-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.
  6. Cristia, Julián P. & Ibarrarán, Pablo & Cueto, Santiago & Santiago, Ana & Severín, Eugenio, 2012. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake," CESifo Working Paper Series 3469, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Fairlie, Robert W., 2012. "The effects of home access to technology on computer skills: Evidence from a field experiment," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 243-253.

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