Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2382890
 


 



Equalizing Superstars: The Internet and the Democratization of Education


Daron Acemoglu


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Laibson


Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John A. List


University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

January 17, 2014

MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 14-03

Abstract:     
Educational resources distributed via the Internet are rapidly proliferating. One prominent concern associated with these potentially transformative developments is that, as many of the leading technologies of the last several decades have been, these new sweeping technological changes will be highly disequalizing, creating superstar teachers, a wider gulf between different groups of students and potentially a winner-take-all educational system. In this paper, we argue that, these important concerns notwithstanding, a major impact of the superstars created by web based educational technologies will be the democratization of education: not only will educational resources be more equally distributed, but also lower-skilled teachers will be winners from this technology. At the root of our results is the observation that for web-based technologies to exploit the comparative advantage of skilled lecturers, they will need to be complemented with opportunities for face-to-face discussions with instructors, and web-based lectures will increase the quantity and quality of teaching services complementary to such instruction, potentially increasing the marginal product and wages of lower-skill teachers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: computers, education, inequality, Internet, non-rival technologies, online education, superstars

JEL Classification: I20, I24, A20, O33.

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Date posted: January 22, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Laibson, David and List, John A., Equalizing Superstars: The Internet and the Democratization of Education (January 17, 2014). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 14-03. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2382890 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2382890

Contact Information

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )
50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-380b
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-1927 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
David I. Laibson
Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center
Room M-14
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-3402 (Phone)
617-495-8570 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
John A. List
University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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