June 1, 2006
If personal computers (PCs) are used to facilitate learning, then a home computer might be considered a potential input in an educational production function. Using data on British youths from the British Household Panel Survey between 1991 and 2001, this paper explores 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 association between PC ownership and the number of GCSEs obtained and with the probability of passing five or more GCSEs. These results survive a set of robustness tests, 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 and with an increase in the probability of successfully completing three or more A-levels, conditional on having passed at least one A-level.
Economics of Education Review
Volume: 25 (6):659-673
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