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Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital

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  • Ofer Malamud
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches

Abstract

This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of home computers on child and adolescent outcomes by exploiting a voucher program in Romania. Our main results indicate that home computers have both positive and negative effects on the development of human capital. Children who won a voucher to purchase a computer had significantly lower school grades but show improved computer skills. There is also some evidence that winning a voucher increased cognitive skills, as measured by Raven's Progressive Matrices. We do not find much evidence for an effect on non-cognitive outcomes. Parental rules regarding homework and computer use attenuate the effects of computer ownership, suggesting that parental monitoring and supervision may be important mediating factors. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:2:p:987-1027
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjr008
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    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
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    3. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2002. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 735-765, October.
    4. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Linden, Leigh L., 2009. "The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4836, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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