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Does Future PC Use Determine Our Wages Today? Evidence from German Panel Data

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  • Anger, Silke

    ()
    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Schwarze, Johannes

    (University of Bamberg)

Abstract

Using 1985–1999 data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP) to analyze wages confirms the hypothesis that existing computer wage premiums are determined by individual ability or other unobserved individual characteristics rather than by productivity effects. While a rather large personal computer (PC) wage premium was found in the crosssectional regressions even after the inclusion of standard controls, the conventional longitudinal regression analysis revealed substantially lower or statistically insignificant coefficients, as have other studies. In addition, a new method of testing the two competing explanations for computer wage differentials against each other was found: future PC variables were employed in the wage regressions in order to obtain a further control for worker heterogeneity. The finding that future PC variables have a statistically significant effect on current wages leads one to conclude that computer wage differentials can be attributed to worker heterogeneity rather than to computer-induced productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 429.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour, 2003, 17 (3), 337-360
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp429

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Keywords: technological change; Computer wage premium; future computer usage; unobserved ability;

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  1. H, Entorf & Michel Gollac & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," Working Papers 97-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. 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).
  3. Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1997. "Returns from computer use: A simple test on the productivity interpretation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 273-277, August.
  4. Miller, Paul & Mulvey, Charles, 1997. "Computer Skills and Wages," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(68), pages 106-13, June.
  5. Dinardo, J.E. & Pischke, J.S., 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," Working papers 96-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-1989," NBER Working Papers 3858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Dostie, Benoit & Trépanier, Mathieu, 2005. "Returns to Computer Use and Organizational Practices of the Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 1541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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