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Productivity, Computerization, and Skill Change

  • Edward N. Wolff

Using pooled cross-section, time-series data for 44 industries over the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s in the United States, I find no econometric evidence that computer investment is positively linked to TFP growth (over and above its inclusion in the TFP measure). However, computerization is positively associated with occupational restructuring and changes in the composition of intermediate inputs and capital coefficients. There is modest evidence that the growth of worker skills is positively related to industry productivity growth. The effects are very modest -- adding at most 0.07 percentage points to annual labor productivity growth.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8743.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Publication status: published as Wolff, Edward N. "Productivity, Computerization, And Skill Change," FFB Atlanta - Economic Review, 2002, v87(3,Third-Qtr), 63-87.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8743
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  1. Atreya Chakraborty & Mark Kazarosian, 1999. "Product Differentiation and the Use of Information Technology: New Evidence from the Trucking Industry," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 433, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  9. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  10. Berndt, Ernst R. & Morrison, Catherine J., 1992. "High-tech capital formation and economic performance in U.S. manufacturing industries : an exploratory analysis," Working papers 3419-92., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  12. Arrow, Kenneth J., 1973. "Higher education as a filter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 193-216, July.
  13. Martin Neil Baily & Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "The Productivity Slowdown, Measurement Issues, and the Explosion of Computer Power," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 347-432.
  14. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2001. "Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking," NBER Working Papers 8525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Second Edition," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1, August.
  16. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 1994. "Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big Is the Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 273-334.
  17. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1993. "The Output Contributions of Computer Equipment and Personnel: A Firm- Level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Darrell Parsons & Calvin Gotlieb & Michael Denny, 1993. "Productivity and computers in Canadian banking," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 95-113, June.
  19. Stiroh, Kevin J, 1998. "Computers, Productivity, and Input Substitution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 175-91, April.
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