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Which Workers Gain from Computer Use?

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  • Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia

    ()
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Cindy Zoghi

    ()
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Abstract

Workers who use computers earn more than those who do not. Is this a productivity effect or merely selection? Using the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey, we control for selection and find a wage premium of 3.8% for the average worker upon adopting a computer. This premium, however, obscures important differences in returns to computer adoption across education and occupation groups. We find that long-run returns to computer use are over 5% for most workers. Differences between short-run and long-run returns may suggest that workers share training costs through sacrificed wages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 373.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec040030

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Keywords: Computers; training; technological change;

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References

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  1. Entorf, Horst & Kramarz, Francis, 1997. "Does unmeasured ability explain the higher wages of new technology workers?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1489-1509, August.
  2. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  3. Brian D. Bell, . "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Wages: Evidence from a Longitudinal Data Se," Economics Papers W25., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter, 2002. "The Diffusion of Computers and the Distribution of Wages," Research Memorandum 039, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. H, Entorf & Michel Gollac & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," Working Papers 97-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  6. DiNardo, John E & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1997. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 291-303, February.
  7. Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Schmidt, Christoph M., 1999. "Money for Nothing and Your Chips for Free? The Anatomy of the PC Wage Differential," IZA Discussion Papers 86, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Makepeace, Gerry & Peter Dolton, 2003. "Computer use and earnings in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 146, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
  11. Timothy F. Bresnahan, 1997. "Computerization and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Working Papers 97031, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2000. "Upstairs, Downstairs: Computer-Skill Complementarity and Computer-Labor Substitution on Two Floors of a Large Bank," NBER Working Papers 7890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Pitts, M. Melinda & Robertson, John C., 2008. "The Push-Pull Effects of the Information Technology Boom and Bust," MPRA Paper 44800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia & Cindy Zoghi, 2005. "Returning to the Returns to Computer Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 314-317, May.
  3. Cindy Zoghi & Alec Levenson & Michael Gibbs, 2005. "Why Are Jobs Designed the Way They Are?," Working Papers 382, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  4. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & John C. Robertson, 2006. "Earnings on the Information Technology Roller Coaster: Insight from Matched Employer-Employee Data," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 342–361, October.
  5. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & John C. Robertson, 2006. "The push-pull effects of the information technology boom and bust: insight from matched employer-employee data," Working Paper 2006-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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