Economics at your fingertips  

The Effect of Computer Use on Child Outcomes

Ofer Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches ()

No 812, Working Papers from Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of having access to a home computer on child and adolescent outcomes. To avoid the bias due to non-random access to home computers, we exploit a unique government program which provided vouchers towards the purchase of a personal computer for low-income children enrolled in Romanian public schools. Since the fixed number of vouchers were allocated based on a simple ranking of family income, this program affords a stark regression discontinuity which allows comparisons across students very similar in family income and other respects, but who experienced markedly different access to a computer at home. In 2007, we conducted a household survey of children who participated in the program in 2005. Using these data, we show that children who received a voucher were 50 percent more likely to own a computer. Next, we show that receipt of a voucher had a large impact on time spent in front of the computer and decreased the amount of time spent watching TV and doing homework. Children in households that won a voucher also report having lower school grades and lower educational aspirations. There is also suggestive evidence that winning a voucher is associated with negative behavior outcomes. Nevertheless, we find that having a stay- at-home mom and the presence of rules regarding computer use do mitigate some of the negative effects of winning a computer voucher, indicating that parental monitoring and supervision may be important mediating factors.

Keywords: computer; educational outcomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) ... ers/pdf/wp_08_12.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Eleanor Cartelli ( this e-mail address is bad, please contact ).

Page updated 2023-02-02
Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0812