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Television, time use and academic achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment

Adrian Nieto Castro

Discussion Papers from University of Nottingham, Granger Centre for Time Series Econometrics

Abstract: This article studies the impact of television on academic performance and a plausible mechanism behind this effect: whether television changes time use. I identify a causal effect by using a natural experiment that consists in the staggered introduction of the digital television signal in the British television market. The digital switchover leads to an increase in television viewing time but does not change television contents. I find that the digital switchover increases academic performance, contributing to human capital formation, and that the effect is larger for schools at the bottom of the score distribution, reducing educational inequality. I also show that the digital switchover decreases the probability of children taking part in detrimental activities such as alcohol drinking, and their frequency. I test for alternative mechanisms, but do not find an effect of television on time dedicated to homework neither behaviour. The results point that the true determinant of academic achievement is the relative educational value of out-of-school activities, rather than the absolute one.

Keywords: Academic Performance; Educational Inequality; Time Use; Digital Television Switchover; Natural Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul and nep-edu
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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