WWC review of this study

The effects of computers and acquired skills on earnings, employment and college enrollment: Evidence from a field experiment and California UI earnings records.

Fairlie, R. W., & Bahr, P. R. (2018). Economics of Education Review, 63, 51–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2018.01.004.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    286
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: November 2021

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
College enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College enrollment in any college

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
286 students

43.70

47.00

No

--
Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
286 students

3165.60

2808.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
286 students

3012.80

3560.60

No

--

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
286 students

3383.80

3963.80

No

--

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
286 students

3248.60

3131.80

No

--

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
286 students

3181.50

3999.20

No

--

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
286 students

3982.80

4096.60

No

--

Average quarterly earnings

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

7 Years

Full sample;
286 students

4320.90

4512.60

No

--
Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employed

Computers for entering college students vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
286 students

56.00

54.20

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 63%
    Male: 37%

  • Rural
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    California
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    36%
    White
    64%

Setting

The study was conducted in Butte College, a community college near Chico in rural Northern California.

Study sample

The study reported that students in the sample were 25 years old on average. Nearly two-thirds were women (63%) and White (64%). Just over one-third (35%) of participants lived with their parents. Household incomes tended to be lower, with just under one-third (32%) of students reporting a household income between $10,000-$19,900, a little over one-quarter (26%) reporting a household income between $20,000-$39,900, and less than one-fifth (17%) reporting a household income over $40,000.

Intervention Group

Participants in the intervention group received free, refurbished computers.

Comparison Group

The comparison group students did not receive free computers through this experiment, but they may have had access to their own personal computers.

Support for implementation

No additional information was provided.

 

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