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Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren

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  • Robert W. Fairlie
  • Jonathan Robinson

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, test scores, credits earned, attendance and disciplinary actions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even modestly-sized positive or negative impacts. The estimated null effect is consistent with survey evidence showing no change in homework time or other "intermediate" inputs in education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19060.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Publication status: published as Robert W. Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 211-40, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19060

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  1. Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra & Silva, Olmo, 2006. "New Technology in Schools: Is There a Payoff?," IZA Discussion Papers 2234, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Robert Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes. Evidence from a Field Experiment with Schoolchildren," Working Papers, NET Institute 11-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.
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  10. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2001. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," IZA Discussion Papers 362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. Banerjee, Abhijit & Cole, Shawn & Duflo, Esther & Linden, Leigh, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  16. Daniel O. Beltran & Kuntal K. Das & Robert W. Fairlie, 2008. "Home computers and educational outcomes: evidence from the NLSY97 and CPS," International Finance Discussion Papers, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 958, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Jacob L. Vigdor & Helen F. Ladd, 2010. "Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 16078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Fairlie Robert W, 2004. "Race and the Digital Divide," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, September.
  20. Goldfarb, Avi & Prince, Jeff, 2008. "Internet adoption and usage patterns are different: Implications for the digital divide," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 2-15, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Linden, Leigh L., 2009. "The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4836, The World Bank.
  23. 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, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 771-792, 07.
  24. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert W. Fairlie & Samantha H. Grunberg, 2014. "Access to Technology and the Transfer Function of Community Colleges: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4942, CESifo Group Munich.

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