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The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use

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  • Leora Friedberg

Abstract

New technologies like computers alter skill requirements. This paper explores two related effects of computers on older workers, who use computers less. The evolution of computer use in the Current Population Survey suggests that impending retirement reduces the incentive of older workers to acquire new skills. The Health and Retirement Study shows, further, that computer users retire later than non-users. This may arise because computer users choose to retire later and also because workers planning later retirement choose to acquire computer skills. Instrumental variables estimates suggest that computer use directly lowers the probability of retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Leora Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use," NBER Working Papers 8297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8297 Note: CH LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    2. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
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    4. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    5. Chinhui Juhn, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121.
    6. Michael Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1993. "The Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 4558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1996. "With What Skills Are Computers a Complement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 258-262, May.
    10. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1993. "Technological Change and Retirement Decisions of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 162-183, January.
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    12. George E. Johnson, 1997. "Changes in Earnings Inequality: The Role of Demand Shifts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 41-54, Spring.
    13. 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.
    14. Friedberg, Leora, 1999. "The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computers," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1s97n77x, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    15. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    16. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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