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Essays on the impact of information communication technologies on human capital

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2019
Number of pages192
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis consists of three essays on the impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on cognitive, noncognitive and educational outcomes. Based on large social survey datasets, I find evidence of positive impacts of ICT use on subsequent developmental outcomes.
Chapter Two draws on the Longitudinal Study of Young People in
England (LSYPE) data where I estimate the causal effect of personal
computer usage by teenagers on their university attendance. A variety
of matching methods aimed at minimising the differences of covariates
between treated and control teenagers are applied, and show that access
to personal laptop or computer increases the likelihood of university
attendance, but these effects are heterogeneous.
Chapter Three uses the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to examine the impact of electronic games on cognitive and noncognitive skills
in early childhood between the age of three and five. In the sample,
around one-third of children did not play electronic games before the
age of five. Using mothers’ computer usage at home and new household internet access as instrumental variables, I find no evidence of a
detrimental impact of playing electronic games but some evidence of
cognitive benefits.
Chapter Four exploits the data from Survey data of Health, Ageing,
and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), to examine the effect of internet
use on the cognitive decline of retirees. The casual impact is identified
by instrumenting current internet use with the past career and occupational information of the retirees who, in these surveys, started their
working life before the large-scale computerisation at the workplace after the 1980s. The results demonstrate that ICT usage slows the rate
of cognitive decline among retirees, and the decline is not primarily
driven by advantaged groups.