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Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru

  • Diether Beuermann
  • Julian Cristia

    ()

  • Yyannu Cruz-Aguayo
  • Santiago Cueto
  • Ofer Malamud

This paper presents results from a randomized control trial in which approximately 1,000 OLPC XO laptops were provided for home use to children attending primary schools in Lima, Peru. The intervention increased access and use of home computers, with some substitution away from computer use outside the home. Beneficiaries were more likely to complete domestic chores but less likely to read books. Treatment children scored almost one standard deviation higher in a test of XO proficiency, though there were no effects on objective and self-reported skills for using a Windows-based PC and Internet. There were positive impacts on the Raven's Progressive Matrices test among children who did not have a home computer before the intervention, but no significant effects for the sample as a whole. Finally, there was little evidence for spillovers within schools, although close friends and classmates of laptop recipients did exhibit higher proficiency with the XO computer.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4813.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4813
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden & Shawn Cole, 2005. "Remedying education: Evidence from two randomized experiments in india," Framed Field Experiments 00122, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role Of Information And Social Interactions In Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence From A Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842, August.
  4. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2010. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 15814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cristia, Julián P. & Ibarrarán, Pablo & Cueto, Santiago & Santiago, Ana & Severín, Eugenio, 2012. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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