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The effects of home access to technology on computer skills: Evidence from a field experiment

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

Computer skills are important for educational and labor market success. This paper examines whether disparities in access to home computers are limiting the acquisition of computer skills. To address problems with selection bias, I use data from a randomized field experiment providing free computers for home use to community college students. I find that the treatment group of low-income students receiving free computers has significantly higher levels of computer skills than the control group of low-income students not receiving free computers. The “intent-to-treat” estimates indicate an increase in high-level computer skills of 17% points, and the LATE estimates indicate a range of 19–23% points. The results are robust to estimation strategy, measurement of the dependent variable, and inclusion of different sets of controls. The benefits appear to be the strongest among young, minority, low-income, and female students.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 243-253

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:24:y:2012:i:3:p:243-253
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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