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Labor supply and personal computer adoption

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  • Mark Doms
  • Ethan Lewis

Abstract

The positive correlations found between computer use and human capital are often interpreted as evidence that the adoption of computers have raised the relative demand for skilled labor, the widely touted skill-biased technological change hypothesis. However, several models argue the skill- intensity of technology is endogenously determined by the relative supply of skilled labor. The authors use instruments for the supply of human capital coupled with a rich dataset on computer usage by businesses to show that the supply of human capital is an important determinant of the adoption of personal computers. Their results suggest that great caution must be exercised in placing economic interpretations on the correlations often found between technology and human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Labor supply and personal computer adoption," Working Papers 06-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:06-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis & Alicia Robb, 2010. "Local Labor Force Education, New Business Characteristics, and Firm Performance," NBER Chapters,in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Tommaso Frattini, 2008. "The labour market impact of immigration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 478-495, Autumn.
    3. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green & Benjamin M. Sand, 2010. "How Much Is Employment Increased by Cutting Labor Costs? Estimating the Elasticity of Job Creation," NBER Working Papers 15790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz, 2015. "How Do Industries and Firms Respond to Changes in Local Labor Supply?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 711-750.
    5. Liao, Wen-Chi, 2010. "Outsourcing and computers: Impact on urban skill level and rent," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2-3), pages 136-154, May.
    6. Sand, Benjamin M., 2013. "A re-examination of the social returns to education: Evidence from U.S. cities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 97-106.
    7. Paul Beaudry & Ethan Lewis, 2014. "Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 178-194, April.
    8. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
    9. Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 417-443.

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    Keywords

    Labor supply ; Computers;

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