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The Role of Education in Technology Use and Adoption: Evidence from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey

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  • Riddell, W. Craig
  • Song, Xueda

Abstract

Adoption of innovations by firms and workers is an important part of the process of technological change. Many prior studies find that highly educated workers tend to adopt new technologies faster than those with less education. Such positive correlations between the level of education and the rate of technology adoption, however, do not necessarily reflect the true causal effect of education on technology adoption. Relying on data from the Workplace and Employee Survey, this study assesses the causal effects of education on technology use and adoption by using instrumental variables for schooling derived from Canadian compulsory school attendance laws. We find that education increases the probability of using computers in the job and that employees with more education have longer work experiences in using computers than those with less education. However, education does not influence the use of computer-controlled and computer-assisted devices or other technological devices such as cash registers and sales terminals. Our estimates are consistent with the view that formal education increases the use of technologies that require or enable workers to carry out higher order tasks, but not those that routinize workplace tasks.

Suggested Citation

  • Riddell, W. Craig & Song, Xueda, 2011. "The Role of Education in Technology Use and Adoption: Evidence from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-26, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Oct 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-26
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    File URL: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%2083%20-%20Riddell%20and%20Song.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Donna Feir & M. Chris Auld, 2017. "The Effect of Indian Residential Schools on Height and Body Mass Post-1930," Department Discussion Papers 1703, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2013. "Patents in the University: Priming the Pump and Crowding Out," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 817-844, September.
    3. Comin, Diego & Mestieri, Martí, 2014. "Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes, and Consequences," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 2, pages 565-622 Elsevier.
    4. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:11:y:2014:i:06:n:s0219877014500370 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Daiji Kawaguchi & Tetsushi Murao & Ryo Kambayashi, 2014. "Incidence of Strict Quality Standards: Protection of Consumers or Windfall for Professionals?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 195-224.
    6. Comin, Diego & Mestieri, Martí, 2014. "Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes, and Consequences," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 2, pages 565-622 Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technology use and adoption; education; causal effects; compulsory schooling laws; heterogeneity in technology;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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