Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital
This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of home computers on child and adolescent outcomes. We collected survey data from households who participated in a unique government program in Romania which allocated vouchers for the purchase of a home computer to low-income children based on a simple ranking of family income. We show that children in households who received a voucher were substantially more likely to own and use a computer than their counterparts who did not receive a voucher. Our main results indicate that that home computer use has both positive and negative effects on the development of human capital. Children who won a voucher had significantly lower school grades in Math, English and Romanian but significantly higher scores in a test of computer skills and in self-reported measures of computer fluency. There is also evidence that winning a voucher increased cognitive ability, as measured by Raven's Progressive Matrices. We do not find much evidence for an effect on non-cognitive outcomes. Finally, the presence of parental rules regarding computer use and homework appear to mitigate the effects of computer ownership, suggesting that parental monitoring and supervision may be important mediating factors.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2011. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 987-1027.|
|Note:||ED HE CH|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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- Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2001.
"New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning,"
IZA Discussion Papers
362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2002. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 735-765, October.
- Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," NBER Working Papers 7424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
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