Are Computer Skills the New Basic Skills? The Returns to Computer, Writing and Math Skills in Britain
The large increase in computer use has raised the question whether people have to be taught computer skills before entering the labour market. Using data from the 1997 Skills Survey of the Employed British Workforce, we argue that neither the increase in computer use nor the fact that particularly higher skilled workers use a computer provides evidence that computer skills are valuable. We compare computer skills with writing and math skills and test whether wages vary with computer skills, given the specific use that is made of computers. The regression results show that while the ability to write documents and to carry out mathematical analyses yields significant labour-market returns, the ability to effectively use a computer has no substantial impact on wages. These estimates suggest that writing and math can be regarded as basic skills, but that the higher wages of computer users are unrelated to computer skills.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Labour Economics, 2004, 11 (1), 85-98|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brian D. Bell, . "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Wages: Evidence from a Longitudinal Data Se," Economics Papers W25., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Chennells, Lucy & Van Reenen, John, 1997. "Technical Change and Earnings in British Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(256), pages 587-604, November.
- 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.
- 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 464-91, July.
- Entorf, Horst & Gollac, Michel & Kramarz, Francis, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 1761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- H, Entorf & Michel Gollac & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," Working Papers 97-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- Borghans L. & Weel B. ter, 2001.
"Computers, Skills and Wages,"
ROA Research Memorandum
005, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
- 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.
- Dinardo, J.E. & Pischke, J.S., 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," Working papers 96-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- John E. DiNardo & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," NBER Working Papers 5606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter, 2002. "Do Older Workers Have More Trouble Using a Computer Than Younger Workers?," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp751. 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: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.