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