IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Computer Use on Child Outcomes


  • Ofer Malamud
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches


This paper examines the impact of having access to a home computer on child and adolescent outcomes. To avoid the bias due to non-random access to home computers, we exploit a unique government program which provided vouchers towards the purchase of a personal computer for low-income children enrolled in Romanian public schools. Since the fixed number of vouchers were allocated based on a simple ranking of family income, this program affords a stark regression discontinuity which allows comparisons across students very similar in family income and other respects, but who experienced markedly different access to a computer at home. In 2007, we conducted a household survey of children who participated in the program in 2005. Using these data, we show that children who received a voucher were 50 percent more likely to own a computer. Next, we show that receipt of a voucher had a large impact on time spent in front of the computer and decreased the amount of time spent watching TV and doing homework. Children in households that won a voucher also report having lower school grades and lower educational aspirations. There is also suggestive evidence that winning a voucher is associated with negative behavior outcomes. Nevertheless, we find that having a stay- at-home mom and the presence of rules regarding computer use do mitigate some of the negative effects of winning a computer voucher, indicating that parental monitoring and supervision may be important mediating factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2008. "The Effect of Computer Use on Child Outcomes," Working Papers 0812, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0812

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2010. "Uruguay - Equality of Opportunity : Achievements and Challenges," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2985, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    computer; educational outcomes;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0812. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eleanor Cartelli) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Eleanor Cartelli to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.