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Technology Adoption and Workforce Skill in U.S. Manufacturing Plants

  • Dunne, Timothy


    (University of Oklahoma)

  • Troske, Kenneth


    (University of Kentucky)

This paper examines the relationship between technology adoption and workforce skill in US manufacturing plants. Using information on the use and adoption of seven different information technologies, we find that the relationship between technology adoption and workforce skill varies across the technologies. Technologies more closely related to engineering and design tasks are associated with more skilled workforces. Technologies more closely related to production activities are not. When we examine the relationship between technology adoption and skill upgrading of workforces, we find little correlation between the use and/or adoption of technologies and changes in workforce skill at the plant level. However, we do find that plants adopting technologies related to engineering and design tasks do grow faster over the period 1987-1997.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1427.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 2005, 52 (3), 387-405
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1427
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  1. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "Information technology and the U.S. productivity revival: what do the industry data say?," Staff Reports 115, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "What explains skill upgrading in less developed countries?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 311-328, August.
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  15. Dunne, Timothy & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1995. "Wages, Employment Structure and Employer Size-Wage Premia: Their Relationship to Advanced-Technology Usage at US Manufacturing Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 89-107, February.
  16. Donald S. Siegel, 1999. "Skill-Biased Technological Change: Evidence from a Firm-Level Survey," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number sbtc.
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