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Which Workers Gain from Computer Use?

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia & Cindy Zoghi, 2004. "Which Workers Gain from Computer Use?," Working Papers 373, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec040030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Entorf, Horst & Gollac, Michel & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "New Technologies, Wages, and Worker Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 464-491, July.
    2. Borghans, Lex & ter Weel, Bas, 2007. "The diffusion of computers and the distribution of wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 715-748, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Peter Dolton & Gerry Makepeace, 2004. "Computer Use and Earnings in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 117-129, March.
    6. John E. DiNardo & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 291-303.
    7. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne & Kenneth R. Troske, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-290.
    8. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1999. "Computerisation and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 390-415, June.
    9. 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 3-33, February.
    10. 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.
    11. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 1999. "Money for Nothing and Your Chips for Free?: The Anatomy of the PC Wage Differential," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 178, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Brian D. Bell, "undated". "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Wages: Evidence from a Longitudinal Data Se," Economics Papers W25., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zoghi, Cindy & Levenson, Alec R. & Gibbs, Michael, 2005. "Why Are Jobs Designed the Way They Are?," IZA Discussion Papers 1529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & John C. Robertson, 2008. "The Push-Pull Effects of the Information Technology Boom and Bust," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 22(3), pages 200-212, August.
    3. 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.
    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. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(2010)0000030007 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Computers; training; technological change;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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