IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/19060.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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

Author

Listed:
  • Robert W. Fairlie
  • Jonathan Robinson

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren," NBER Working Papers 19060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19060
    Note: DEV ED
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19060.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 988-1012, September.
    3. Julian Cristia & Pablo Ibarrarán & Santiago Cueto & Ana Santiago & Eugenio Severín, 2017. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 295-320, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert W. Fairlie & Daniel O. Beltran & Kuntal K. Das, 2010. "HOME COMPUTERS AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES: EVIDENCE FROM THE NLSY97 and CPS," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 771-792, July.
    6. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 2012. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 727-753, June.
    7. Lisa Barrow & Lisa Markman & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2009. "Technology's Edge: The Educational Benefits of Computer-Aided Instruction," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 52-74, February.
    8. 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.
    9. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally & Olmo Silva, 2007. "New Technology in Schools: Is There a Payoff?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1145-1167, July.
    10. 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.
    11. Schmitt, John & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2006. "Is there an impact of household computer ownership on children's educational attainment in Britain?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 659-673, December.
    12. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
    13. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2006. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 336-347, May.
    14. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    15. Fiorini, M., 2010. "The effect of home computer use on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 55-72, February.
    16. 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.
    17. Carrillo, Paul E. & Onofa, Mercedes & Ponce, Juan, 2011. "Information Technology and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Ecuador," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3094, Inter-American Development Bank.
    18. Fairlie Robert W, 2004. "Race and the Digital Divide," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, September.
    19. Goldfarb, Avi & Prince, Jeff, 2008. "Internet adoption and usage patterns are different: Implications for the digital divide," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 2-15, March.
    20. 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.
    21. Paul Carrillo & Mercedes Onofa & Juan Ponce, 2010. "Information Technology and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Ecuador," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 37758, Inter-American Development Bank.
    22. Julian Cristia & Pablo Ibarrarán & Santiago Cueto & Ana Santiago & Eugenio Severín, 2017. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 295-320, July.
    23. Zavodny, Madeline, 2006. "Does watching television rot your mind? Estimates of the effect on test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 565-573, October.
    24. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Linden, Leigh L., 2009. "The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4836, The World Bank.
    25. Robert Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes. Evidence from a Field Experiment with Schoolchildren," Working Papers 11-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. George Bulman & Robert W. Fairlie, 2015. "Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet," CESifo Working Paper Series 5570, CESifo.
    2. Robert Fairlie & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes. Evidence from a Field Experiment with Schoolchildren," Working Papers 11-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2011.
    3. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 2012. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 727-753, June.
    4. Benjamin Faber & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & Felix Weinhardt, 2015. "ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses," SERC Discussion Papers 0186, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    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. Karthik Muralidharan & Abhijeet Singh & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2019. "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(4), pages 1426-1460, April.
    7. Fairlie, Robert W., 2012. "The effects of home access to technology on computer skills: Evidence from a field experiment," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 243-253.
    8. Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & José Montalbán & Felix Weinhardt, 2021. "Home Broadband and Human Capital Formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 8846, CESifo.
    9. 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.
    10. Nerea Gómez-Fernández & Mauro Mediavilla, 2018. "Do information and communication technologies (ICT) improve educational outcomes? Evidence for Spain in PISA 2015," Working Papers 2018/20, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    11. Fairlie, Robert W., 2012. "Academic achievement, technology and race: Experimental evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 663-679.
    12. Julian Cristia & Pablo Ibarrarán & Santiago Cueto & Ana Santiago & Eugenio Severín, 2017. "Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 295-320, July.
    13. Comi, Simona Lorena & Argentin, Gianluca & Gui, Marco & Origo, Federica & Pagani, Laura, 2017. "Is it the way they use it? Teachers, ICT and student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 24-39.
    14. Bet, German & Cristia, Julián P. & Ibarrarán, Pablo, 2014. "The Effects of Shared School Technology Access on Students Digital Skills in Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 7954, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. Schwerdt, Guido & Chingos, Matthew M., 2015. "Virtual Schooling and Student Learning: Evidence from the Florida Virtual School," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113202, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Rodrigo Belo & Pedro Ferreira & Rahul Telang, 2014. "Broadband in School: Impact on Student Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(2), pages 265-282, February.
    18. Gómez-Fernández, Nerea & Mediavilla, Mauro, 2021. "Exploring the relationship between Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and academic performance: A multilevel analysis for Spain," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    19. 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.
    20. Constantin Mang, 2016. "Market Consequences of ICT Innovations," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 70.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19060. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.