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The Internet and Local Wages: A Puzzle

Author

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  • Chris Forman
  • Avi Goldfarb
  • Shane Greenstein

Abstract

How did the diffusion of the internet affect regional wage inequality? We examine the relationship between business investment in advanced internet technology and local variation in US wage growth between 1995 and 2000. We identify a puzzle. The internet is widespread, but the economic payoffs are not. Advanced internet technology is only associated with substantial wage growth in the 6 percent of counties that were already highly wealthy, educated, and populated and had IT-intensive industry. Advanced internet and wage growth appear unrelated elsewhere. Overall, advanced internet explains over half the difference in wage growth between already well-off counties and all others. (JEL J31, L86, O33, R11, R23)

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Forman & Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein, 2012. "The Internet and Local Wages: A Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 556-575, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:556-75
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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