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

28 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2013

See all articles by Robert W. Fairlie

Robert W. Fairlie

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Jonathan Robinson

University of California, Santa Cruz

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 27, 2013

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet large segments of the population – especially low-income and minority children – lack access to a computer at home. Does this impede educational achievement? We test this hypothesis by conducting the largest-ever field experiment involving the random provision of free computers for home use to students. 1,123 schoolchildren grades 6-10 in 15 California schools participated in the experiment. Although the program significantly increased computer ownership and use, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, standardized 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 for treatment students.

Keywords: computers, education, experiment

JEL Classification: I240

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W. and Robinson, Jonathan, Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren (February 27, 2013). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4128. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2225764

Robert W. Fairlie (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Engineering 2 Bldg.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
831-459-3332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.ucsc.edu/~fairlie/

Jonathan Robinson

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

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