IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Computer Use, Computer Skills and Computer Use Intensity: Evidence from WERS 2004


  • Peter Dolton
  • Panu Pelkonen


Computers and ICT have changed the way we live and work. The latest WERS 2004 provides a snapshot of how using ICT at the workplace has changed our working lives. Various studies have suggested that the use of a computer at work boosted earnings by as much as 20%. Others suggest this reported impact is due to unobserved heterogeneity. Using excellent data from the WERS employer-employee matched data we compare OLS estimates with those from estimations which include controls for establishments, industrial sectors and occupations and use control function, treatment effects models and Instrumental Variable estimation. We show that the results of OLS estimation grossly overestimate the return to computer use but that including occupation controls, reduces the return to between 3-10%. We explore the return on different IT skills and also find a return to the intensity of computer use as measured by the number of tasks a computer is used for.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dolton & Panu Pelkonen, 2007. "The Impact of Computer Use, Computer Skills and Computer Use Intensity: Evidence from WERS 2004," CEE Discussion Papers 0081, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0081

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wu, De-Min, 1973. "Alternative Tests of Independence Between Stochastic Regressors and Disturbances," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 733-750, July.
    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. Peter Dolton & Gerry Makepeace, 2004. "Computer Use and Earnings in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 117-129, March.
    4. Peter Dolton & Gerry Makepeace & Helen Robinson, 2007. "Use It Or Lose It? The Impact Of Computers On Earnings," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(6), pages 673-694, December.
    5. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Guerrieri & Sara Bentivegna (ed.), 2011. "The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14361.

    More about this item


    ICT; Skills;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0081. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.