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How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-1989

  • Alan B. Krueger

This paper examines whether employees who use a computer at work earn a higher wage rate than otherwise similar workers who do not use a computer at work. The analysis primarily relies on data from the Current Population Survey and the High School and Beyond Survey. A variety of statistical models are estimated to try to correct for unobserved variables that might be correlated with both job-related computer use and earnings. The estimates suggest that workers who use computers on their job earn roughly a 10 to 15 percent higher wage rate. In addition, the estimates suggest that the expansion in computer use in the l980s can account for between one-third and one-half of the observed increase in the rate of return to education, Finally, occupations that experienced greater growth in computer use between 1984 and 1989 also experienced above average wage growth.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3858.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3858.

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Date of creation: Oct 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108, no. 1, February 1993, pp. 33-61
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3858
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. John Bound & George E. Johnson, 1989. "Changes in the Structure of Wages During the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," NBER Working Papers 2983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Allen, Steven G, 2001. "Technology and the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 440-83, April.
  4. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  5. Katz, Lawrence F. & Revenga, Ana L., 1989. "Changes in the structure of wages: The United States vs Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 522-553, December.
  6. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  7. David Card, 1992. "The Effect of Unions on the Distribution of Wages: Redistribution or Relabelling?," NBER Working Papers 4195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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