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Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren

Author

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Robinson, Jonathan

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet large segments of the population – especially low-income and minority children – lack access to a computer at home. Does this impede educational achievement? We test this hypothesis by conducting the largest-ever field experiment involving the random provision of free computers for home use to students. 1,123 schoolchildren grades 6-10 in 15 California schools participated in the experiment. Although the program significantly increased computer ownership and use, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, standardized test scores, credits earned, attendance and disciplinary actions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even modestly-sized positive or negative impacts. The estimated null effect is consistent with survey evidence showing no change in homework time or other "intermediate" inputs in education for treatment students.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & Robinson, Jonathan, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," IZA Discussion Papers 7211, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7211
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    Cited by:

    1. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Murphy, Richard, 2016. "Ill Communication: Technology, distraction & student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 61-76.
    2. Patterson, Richard W. & Patterson, Robert M., 2017. "Computers and productivity: Evidence from laptop use in the college classroom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 66-79.
    3. Fairlie, Robert W. & Kalil, Ariel, 2017. "The effects of computers on children's social development and school participation: Evidence from a randomized control experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 10-19.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert W. Fairlie & Samantha H. Grunberg, 2014. "Access To Technology And The Transfer Function Of Community Colleges: Evidence From A Field Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1040-1059, July.
    6. Robert W. Fairlie & Peter Riley Bahr, 2018. "The Effects of Computers and Acquired Skills on Earnings, Employment and College Enrollment: Evidence from a Fields Experiment and California UI Earnings Records," CESifo Working Paper Series 6860, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. De Melo, Gioia & Machado, Alina & Miranda, Alfonso, 2014. "The Impact of a One Laptop per Child Program on Learning: Evidence from Uruguay," IZA Discussion Papers 8489, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. 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.
    9. Oliver Falck & Constantin Mang & Ludger Wößmann, 2015. "Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 5266, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Patricia Dinis Mota da Costa & Luisa De Sousa Lobo Borges de Araujo, 2016. "Digital Reading in PISA 2012 and ICT Uses: How do VET and General Education Students Perform?," JRC Working Papers JRC104713, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    11. George Bulman & Robert W. Fairlie, 2015. "Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet," CESifo Working Paper Series 5570, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Agasisti, Tommaso & Gil-Izquierdo, María & Han, Seong Won, 2017. "ICT use at home for school-related tasks: what is the effect on a student’s achievement? Empirical evidence from OECD PISA data," MPRA Paper 81343, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    14. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2015. ""A Flop or a Success?" An Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of the 6-3-3-4 Education System in Nigeria," IZA Discussion Papers 9131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; education; computers;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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