Is There an Impact of Household Computer Ownership on Children's Educational Attainment in Britain?
Paper No' CEPDP0625:
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Keywords: Human capital; Economic Impact, Personal Computers
JEL Classification: I2; J2; J13; J24
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This Paper is published under the following series:
CEP Discussion Papers
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If personal computers (PCs) are used to enhance learning and information gathering across a
variety of subjects, then a home computer might reasonably be considered an input in an
educational production function. Using data on British youths from the British Household
Panel Survey between 1991 and 2001, this paper attempts to explore the link between
ownership of a home computer at ages 15 and 17 and subsequent educational attainment in
the principal British school examinations taken at ages 16 (GCSEs) and 18 (A levels). The
data show a significant positive associatio n between PC ownership and both the number of
GCSEs obtained and the probability of passing five or more GCSEs. These results survive a
set of individual, household, and area controls, including using other household durables and
\"future\" PC ownership as proxies for household wealth and other unobservable household
level effects. Home computer ownership is also associated with a significant increase in the
probability of passing at least one A level conditional on having passed five and increase in
the probability of successfully completing three or more A levels, conditional on having
passed at least one A level.