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New Technology in Schools: Is There a Payoff?

  • Machin, Stephen


    (University College London)

  • McNally, Sandra


    (London School of Economics)

  • Silva, Olmo


    (London School of Economics)

Despite its high relevance to current policy debates, estimating the causal effect of Information Communication Technology (ICT) investment on educational standards remains fraught with difficulties. In this paper, we exploit a change in the rules governing ICT funding across different school districts of England to devise an instrumental variable strategy to identify the causal impact of ICT expenditure on pupil outcomes. The approach identifies the effect of being a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’ in the new system of ICT funding allocation to schools. Our findings suggest a positive impact on primary school performance in English and Science, though not for Mathematics. We reconcile our positive results with others in the literature by arguing that it is the joint effect of large increases in ICT funding coupled with a fertile background for making an efficient use of it that led to positive effects of ICT expenditure on educational performance in English primary schools.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2234.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2007, 117 (522), 1145-1167
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2234
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  1. Imbens, G. & Angrist, J.D., 1992. "Average Causal Response with Variable Treatment Intensity," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1611, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Leuven, Edwin & Lindahl, Mikael & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2004. "The Effect of Extra Funding for Disadvantaged Pupils on Achievement," Working Paper Series 2/2004, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  3. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Leigh Linden, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomised Experiments in India," Working Papers id:360, eSocialSciences.
  4. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wossmann, 2004. "Computers and student learning: bivariate and multivariate evidence on the availability and use of computers at home and at school," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(3-4), pages 359-386.
  5. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
  6. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," NBER Working Papers 7424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-73, December.
  8. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2002. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 9090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  10. Cecilia E. Rouse & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "Putting Computerized Instruction to the Test: A Randomized Evaluation of a "Scientifically-based" Reading Program," NBER Working Papers 10315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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