Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study

51 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2005  

Matthew Gentzkow

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse M. Shapiro

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 27, 2006

Abstract

We use heterogeneity in the timing of television's introduction to different local markets to identify the effect of preschool television exposure on standardized test scores later in life. Our preferred point estimate indicates that an additional year of preschool television exposure raises average test scores by about .02 standard deviations. We are able to reject negative effects larger than about .03 standard deviations per year of television exposure. For reading and general knowledge scores, the positive effects we find are marginally statistically significant, and these effects are largest for children from households where English is not the primary language, for children whose mothers have less than a high school education, and for non-white children. To capture more general effects on human capital, we also study the effect of childhood television exposure on school completion and subsequent labor market earnings, and again find no evidence of a negative effect.

Keywords: television, cognitive ability, media

JEL Classification: I21, J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Gentzkow, Matthew and Shapiro, Jesse M., Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study (January 27, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=862424 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.862424

Matthew Aaron Gentzkow (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Jesse M. Shapiro

University of Chicago ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-2688 (Phone)
773-834-8172 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://home.uchicago.edu/~jmshapir/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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