Computers and productivity: Evidence from laptop use in the college classroom


Work data:

ISSN: 0272-7757

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Learning and Instructional Technology | Economics | Education


knowledge gap, 1x1, computers at school


This paper evaluates the effect of classroom computer use on academic performance. Using a quasi-experimental design and administrative data, we find that computer use in college classrooms has a negative impact on course grades. Our study exploits institutional policies that generate plausibly random variation in laptop use within the classroom. Compared to students who are not affected by computer policies, students who are induced to use computers in class perform significantly worse and students who are influenced not to use computers perform significantly better. We find that the negative effects of computer use are concentrated among males and low-performing students and more prominent in quantitative courses.