Fun in Education
74 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 16, 2018
The Beckerian view that ‘fun’ can be productive has new fertile applications in education, where interactive activities such as videogame tasks (consumption-intensive) are being used alongside standard instructions (workintensive). The implications of this transformation for equity, efficiency and academic performance have gone largely unexplored, both theoretically and empirically. This paper presents the first estimates of the causal effect of a videogame task on students’ academic choices and performance and offers a simple model to flesh out potential mechanisms and policy implications. Our empirical results are consistent with a model where low-performing students benefit more from consumption-intensive education, owing to an increase in the productivity of leisure hours and a decrease in the likelihood of procrastination. The impacts are large, with students who had access to this simple videogame task scoring 9.05% higher in their final exam. They also take more courses on related subjects, being more likely to graduate with degrees in the same field.
Keywords: higher education, new teaching methods, educational (serious) games
JEL Classification: I20, I23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation