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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 5 No. 3 (July 2013)

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

Article Citation

Fairlie, Robert W., and Jonathan Robinson. 2013. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(3): 211-40.

DOI: 10.1257/app.5.3.211

Abstract

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, 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.

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Authors

Fairlie, Robert W. (U CA, Santa Cruz)
Robinson, Jonathan (U CA, Santa Cruz)

JEL Classifications

I21: Analysis of Education
I24: Education and Inequality
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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