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The impact of public library use on reading, television, and academic outcomes

  • Bhatt, Rachana
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    Do individuals engage in beneficial activities, like recreational reading, if the necessary materials are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive? I investigate this issue by estimating how much reading time increases as a result of public library use. To address the endogeneity of library use I use an IV approach where the instrument is a household's distance to their closest public library. Using data from the Current Population Survey, American Time Use Survey, and National Household Education Survey, I find that library use increases the amount of time an individual spends reading by approximately 27 min on an average day. Moreover, it increases the amount of time parents spend reading to/with young children by 14 min. This increase in reading is more than offset by a 59 min decrease in time spent watching television, and there is no significant change in time spent on other activities. For children in school, library use positively impacts homework completion rates. A simple cost-benefit exercise highlights the potential application of these results for local governments who fund these libraries.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WMG-4YS4W6J-2/2/58076e4c983f77460067fbfcdc6aca68
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 148-166

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:68:y:2010:i:2:p:148-166
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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    5. Carpenter, Christopher & Cook, Philip J., 2008. "Cigarette taxes and youth smoking: New evidence from national, state, and local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 287-299, March.
    6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2004. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1139, CESifo Group Munich.
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