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Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.
  • Robinson, Jonathan

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, test scores, credits earned, attendance and disciplinary actions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even modestly-sized positive or negative impacts. The estimated null effect is consistent with survey evidence showing no change in homework time or other "intermediate" inputs in education.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & Robinson, Jonathan, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5759k24s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt5759k24s
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert W. Fairlie & Samantha H. Grunberg, 2014. "Access To Technology And The Transfer Function Of Community Colleges: Evidence From A Field Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1040-1059, July.
    2. de Melo Gioia & Machado Alina & Miranda Alfonso, 2014. "The Impact of a One Laptop per Child Program on Learning: Evidence from Uruguay," Working Papers 2014-22, Banco de México.
    3. Fairlie Robert W., 2016. "Do Boys and Girls Use Computers Differently, and Does It Contribute to Why Boys do Worse in School Than Girls?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 59-96, January.
    4. Benjamin Faber & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & Felix Weinhardt, 2015. "ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses," SERC Discussion Papers 0186, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    5. Oliver Falck & Constantin Mang & Ludger Wößmann, 2015. "Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 5266, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    7. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2015. ""A Flop or a Success?" An Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of the 6-3-3-4 Education System in Nigeria," IZA Discussion Papers 9131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fairlie, Robert W. & Kalil, Ariel, 2017. "The effects of computers on children's social development and school participation: Evidence from a randomized control experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 10-19.
    9. Patricia Dinis Mota da Costa & Luisa De Sousa Lobo Borges de Araujo, 2016. "Digital Reading in PISA 2012 and ICT Uses: How do VET and General Education Students Perform?," JRC Working Papers JRC104713, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    10. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Murphy, Richard, 2016. "Ill Communication: Technology, distraction & student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 61-76.
    11. Patterson, Richard W. & Patterson, Robert M., 2017. "Computers and productivity: Evidence from laptop use in the college classroom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 66-79.
    12. Robert W. Fairlie & Peter Riley Bahr, 2018. "The Effects of Computers and Acquired Skills on Earnings, Employment and College Enrollment: Evidence from a Fields Experiment and California UI Earnings Records," CESifo Working Paper Series 6860, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. George Bulman & Robert W. Fairlie, 2015. "Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet," CESifo Working Paper Series 5570, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Agasisti, Tommaso & Gil-Izquierdo, María & Han, Seong Won, 2017. "ICT use at home for school-related tasks: what is the effect on a student’s achievement? Empirical evidence from OECD PISA data," MPRA Paper 81343, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Nguyen, Ha Trong & Le, Huong Thu & Connelly, Luke B., 2018. "Rain, rain, go away: Weather and children’s time allocation," MPRA Paper 85731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:51-63 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; education; technology; digital divide; experiment; computers;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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