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Is There an Impact of Household Computer Ownership on Childrens Educational Attainment in Britain?

  • John Schmitt
  • Jonathan Wadsworth

If personal computers (PCs) are used to enhance learning and information gathering across avariety of subjects, then a home computer might reasonably be considered an input in aneducational production function. Using data on British youths from the British HouseholdPanel Survey between 1991 and 2001, this paper attempts to explore the link betweenownership of a home computer at ages 15 and 17 and subsequent educational attainment inthe principal British school examinations taken at ages 16 (GCSEs) and 18 (A levels). Thedata show a significant positive associatio n between PC ownership and both the number ofGCSEs obtained and the probability of passing five or more GCSEs. These results survive aset of individual, household, and area controls, including using other household durables and\"future\" PC ownership as proxies for household wealth and other unobservable householdlevel effects. Home computer ownership is also associated with a significant increase in theprobability of passing at least one A level conditional on having passed five and increase inthe probability of successfully completing three or more A levels, conditional on havingpassed at least one A level.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0625.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0625
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. H, Entorf & Michel Gollac & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," Working Papers 97-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," Working Papers 653, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. John Schmitt & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2002. "Give PCs a Chance: Personal Computer Ownership and the Digital Divide in the United States and Great Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0526, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," NBER Working Papers 7424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brian D. Bell, . "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Wages: Evidence from a Longitudinal Data Se," Economics Papers W25., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  6. Dinardo, J.E. & Pischke, J.S., 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," Working papers 96-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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