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

  • Robert W. Fairlie
  • Jonathan Robinson

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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 211-40

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:3:p:211-40
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.3.211
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  19. Julian Cristia & Pablo Ibarraran & Santiago Cueto & Ana Santiago & Eugenio Severin, 2012. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," Research Department Publications 4764, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  20. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Computers and Student Learning:Bivariate and Multivariate Evidence on the Availability and Use of Computers at Home and at School," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 8, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
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