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Information and communication technology diffusion and skill upgrading in Korean industries


  • Jai-Joon Hur
  • Hwan-Joo Seo
  • Young Soo Lee


We examine the relationship between the directly observable indicator of new technology, information and communication technology (ICT) investment intensity, and skill upgrading by analyzing changes in employment and wage structure of 25 Korean industrial sectors over the 1993-1999 period. The estimation results indicate the following implications. First, although ICT expenditure and investment have increased sharply since 1993, it appears that ICT investment has begun to be complementarily combined with skilled labor only since 1996. Second, our results support the 'limited substitution hypothesis'. ICT has substituted low-skilled non-production workers, whereas the increased demand for high-skilled workers is driven by ICT diffusion in the second sub-period. This asymmetric trend between high-skilled and low-skilled non-production workers in Korea reveals significant differences in comparison with the experiences of other OECD countries. Third, the existence of substitutability between ICT diffusion and low-skilled non-production workers in Korea may cast doubt on the appropriateness of the non-production workers' category, a category regarded as a proxy variable of high-skilled workers in most previous studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jai-Joon Hur & Hwan-Joo Seo & Young Soo Lee, 2005. "Information and communication technology diffusion and skill upgrading in Korean industries," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(7), pages 553-571.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:14:y:2005:i:7:p:553-571 DOI: 10.1080/1043859042000304061

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    2. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    4. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1999. "Computerisation and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 390-415, June.
    5. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Erik Brynjolfsson & Thomas W. Malone & Vijay Gurbaxani & Ajit Kambil, 1994. "Does Information Technology Lead to Smaller Firms?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(12), pages 1628-1644, December.
    7. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ariel Herbert FAMBEU, 2016. "Déterminants De L’Adoption Des Tic Dans Un Pays En Développement : Une Analyse Économétrique Sur Les Entreprises Industrielles Au Cameroun," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 43, pages 159-186.
    2. Anna Giunta & Francesco Trivieri, 2007. "Understanding the determinants of information technology adoption: evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(10), pages 1325-1334.


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