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Can video games affect children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills?

  • Agne Suziedelyte


    (The University of New South Wales)

The aim of this paper is to investigate whether there is a causal relationship between video game playing and children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills. According to the literature, video games have a potential to improve children's cognitive abilities. Video games may also positively a ect such non-cognitive skills as the ability to sustain attention and pro-social behavior. On the other hand, there are concerns that video games can teach children to behave aggressively. The Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics is used for the analysis. The key advantages of this data set are its panel nature, which allows addressing the endogeneity of video game playing, and the time diary component, which provides a reliable measure of children's video game time. I nd that video game playing has a positive statistically signi cant e ect on some of the cognitive skills. More speci cally, an increase in video game time is found to improve children's ability to solve problems. There is no statistically signi cant effect of video game playing on children's reading skills, once other variables are held fixed. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that video game playing may improve certain non-cognitive skills. Moreover, there is no evidence that video game playing increases aggressiveness in children.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-37.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2012-37
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  1. Gordon Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 14599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fali Huang & Myoung-Jae Lee, 2010. "Dynamic treatment effect analysis of TV effects on child cognitive development," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 392-419.
  4. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
  5. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:1:p:279-323 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  7. Pollak, Robert A, 1988. "Tied Transfers and Paternalistic Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 240-44, May.
  8. Michael P. Keane, 2012. "How the Allocation of Children’s Time Affects Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Development," Economics Papers 2012-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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