Jingcun Cao is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at HKU Business School, the University of Hong Kong. His research mainly focuses on substantively important and managerially relevant problems, and tries to solve the problems with the most adequate methods, including econometrics, field experiment, machine learning and statistics. His expertise lies in mobile marketing, applied machine learning, healthcare, and policy intervention. Dr. Cao has severed as ad-hoc reviewers for a set of marketing and management journals, including Management Science, Marketing Science, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Business Research.
Dr. Cao also works closely with hi-tech and internet firms to gain deep understandings in the most innovated business models in the industry, and also helps firms to get empowered with cutting-edged marketing research, especially on Business Intelligence and Data Driven. Dr. Cao received his bachelor’s degree in computational mathematics, master degrees in Economics and Business, and PhD degree in Marketing.
Title：The Effect of Subsidizing Digital Educational Content: Evidence from a Field Experiment
The unequal distribution of educational resources has been a major concern of both educators and policymakers around the world. The rise of the digital education industry brings new hope to the problem, but how exactly it affects existing education inequality remains largely unknown. Using data from a unique field experiment by an eBook app, we investigate the effects on K-12 children of improving access to digital educational resources. In particular, our analysis traces out both the short-run and long-run treatment effects of providing children with free access to digital reading resources, and how these effects vary across children with different socioeconomic backgrounds.
We find that providing children with free access to digital reading materials leads to a dramatic and immediate increase in reading time (491%) for treated children, and that this immediate effect is much larger for children from less developed regions with fewer educational resources. However, children's reading activities decline quickly after the start of their free access. Surprisingly, this decline is much faster for children from less developed regions, despite their strong initial reaction to the treatment. Further evidence suggests that children from more developed regions benefit more from the free access in the long run. Our mechanism analysis further reveals a nuanced complementarity between digital and non-digital education and suggests that the long-run difference in reading patterns likely reflects differing levels of parental involvement in the education of children with different socioeconomic status. We discuss the managerial and policy implications of our study.