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Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology And Student Achievement

Author

Listed:
  • JACOB L. VIGDOR
  • HELEN F. LADD
  • ERIKA MARTINEZ

Abstract

type="main" xml:id="ecin12089-abs-0001"> 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. ( JEL I2 , J24 )

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob L. Vigdor & Helen F. Ladd & Erika Martinez, 2014. "Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology And Student Achievement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1103-1119, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:52:y:2014:i:3:p:1103-1119
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecin.2014.52.issue-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    2. 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, vol. 23(4), pages 323-338, August.
    3. John E. DiNardo & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 291-303.
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    5. 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.
    6. Fiorini, M., 2010. "The effect of home computer use on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 55-72, February.
    7. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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