Television, Cognitive Ability, and High School Completion

41 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2016

See all articles by Oeystein Hernaes

Oeystein Hernaes

University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research

Simen Markussen

University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research

Knut Roed

Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We exploit supply-driven heterogeneity in the expansion of cable television across Norwegian municipalities to identify developmental effects of commercial television exposure during childhood. We find that higher exposure to commercial television reduces cognitive ability and high school graduation rates for young men. The effects are largest for exposure during pre-school and elementary school age. We find no effect on high school completion for women, suggesting availability of non-educational media content as a factor in the widening educational gender gap. Based on time-use data, we show that a possible explanation is that television-watching crowds out reading more for boys than girls.

Keywords: human capital, media, education gender gap

JEL Classification: J13, J16, J24, L82

Suggested Citation

Hernaes, Oeystein and Markussen, Simen and Røed, Knut, Television, Cognitive Ability, and High School Completion. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9645, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2716586

Oeystein Hernaes (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research ( email )

Simen Markussen

University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research ( email )

Gaustadalleen 21
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

Knut Røed

Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research ( email )

Gaustadalleen 21
N-0349 Oslo
Norway

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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