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Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study

  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

We use heterogeneity in the timing of television's introduction to different local markets to identify the effect of preschool television exposure on standardized test scores later in life. Our preferred point estimate indicates that an additional year of preschool television exposure raises average test scores by about .02 standard deviations. We are able to reject negative effects larger than about .03 standard deviations per year of television exposure. For reading and general knowledge scores, the positive effects we find are marginally statistically significant, and these effects are largest for children from households where English is not the primary language, for children whose mothers have less than a high school education, and for non-white children. To capture more general effects on human capital, we also study the effect of childhood television exposure on school completion and subsequent labor market earnings, and again find no evidence of a negative effect.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12021.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12021
Note: CH ED LS
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