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Academic achievement, technology and race: Experimental evidence

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

Although a large literature explores the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students, very little is known about whether disparities in access to technology are partly responsible. Data from the first-ever field experiment involving the random provision of free computers to low-income community college students for home use are used to explore whether home computers are beneficial to minority students. I find that minority students receiving free computers achieved better educational outcomes than the control group that did not receive free computers. Minority students may have benefitted more from receiving free computers because of fewer alternatives for accessing home computers due to lower rates of computer ownership among family, friends, and relatives. Implications for the achievement gap and policy are discussed.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 31 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 663-679

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:5:p:663-679
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2002. "Race, Internet usage, and E-commerce," Working Paper 2002-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. Zavodny, Madeline, 2006. "Does watching television rot your mind? Estimates of the effect on test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 565-573, October.
  3. 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.
  4. John Schmitt & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2004. "Is There an Impact of Household Computer Ownership on Childrens Educational Attainment in Britain?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0625, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "Race and the Digital Divide," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt48h8h99w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  6. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2011. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 987-1027.
  7. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  8. James E. Prieger, 2003. "The Supply Side of the Digital Divide: Is There Equal Availability in the Broadband Internet Access Market?," Working Papers 25, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  9. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3sm3c0wp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  10. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
  11. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  12. 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 958, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. 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.
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