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Do Home Computers Improve Educational Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Current Population Surveys and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997

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  • Beltran, Daniel O.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Das, Kuntal K.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

Nearly twenty million children in the United States do not have computers in their homes. The role of home computers in the educational process, however, has drawn very little attention in the previous literature. We use 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 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 estimation strategies, including controlling for typically unobservable home environment and extracurricular activities in the NLSY97, fixed effects models, instrumental variables, future computer ownership and "pencil tests". Some of these estimation techniques, however, provide imprecise estimates. 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

  • Beltran, Daniel O. & Das, Kuntal K. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2006. "Do Home Computers Improve Educational Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Current Population Surveys and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997," IZA Discussion Papers 1912, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1912
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacob L. Vigdor & Helen F. Ladd & Erika Martinez, 2014. "Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology And Student Achievement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1103-1119, July.
    2. David Leonardo Parra Araque, 2013. "Determinantes socioeconómicas de las TIC en el rendimiento de los estudiantes en las Pruebas saber 11 para Bogotá," REVISTA ISOCUANTA 012558, UNIVERSIDAD SANTO TOMÁS.
    3. Coneus, Katja & Gernandt, Johannes & Saam, Marianne, 2008. "Noncognitive Skills, Internet Use and Educational Dropout," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-044, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    technology; educational outcomes; computers;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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