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Home computers and educational outcomes: evidence from the NLSY97 and CPS

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel O. Beltran
  • Kuntal K. Das
  • Robert W. Fairlie

Abstract

Although computers are universal in the classroom, nearly twenty million children in the United States do not have computers in their homes. Surprisingly, only a few previous studies explore the role of home computers in the educational process. Home computers might be very useful for completing school assignments, but they might also represent a distraction for teenagers. We use several identification strategies and panel data from the two main U.S. datasets that include recent information on computer ownership among children--the 2000-2003 CPS Computer and Internet Use Supplements (CIUS) matched to the CPS Basic Monthly Files and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997--to explore the causal relationship between computer ownership and high school graduation and other educational outcomes. Teenagers who have access to home computers are 6 to 8 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school than teenagers who do not have home computers after controlling for individual, parental, and family characteristics. We generally find evidence of positive relationships between home computers and educational outcomes using several identification strategies, including controlling for typically unobservable home environment and extracurricular activities in the NLSY97, fixed effects models, instrumental variables, and including future computer ownership and falsification tests. Home computers may increase high school graduation by reducing non-productive activities, such as truancy and crime, among children in addition to making it easier to complete school assignments.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel O. Beltran & Kuntal K. Das & Robert W. Fairlie, 2008. "Home computers and educational outcomes: evidence from the NLSY97 and CPS," International Finance Discussion Papers 958, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:958
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Hull, Marie C. & Duch, Katherine, 2017. "One-To-One Technology and Student Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 10886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Fairlie, Robert W., 2012. "Academic achievement, technology and race: Experimental evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 663-679.
    5. Robert W. Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 211-240, July.
    6. Robert Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes. Evidence from a Field Experiment with Schoolchildren," Working Papers 11-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Computers ; Education;

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