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Does future PC use determine our wages today? Evidence from German panel data

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  • Anger, Silke
  • Schwarze, Johannes

Abstract

Using 1985-1999 data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP) to analyze wages we confirm the hypothesis that existing computer wage premiums are determined by individual ability or other unobserved individual characteristics rather than by productivity effects. While a rather large personal computer (PC) wage premium was found in the crosssectional regressions even after the inclusion of standard controls, the conventional longitudinal regression analysis revealed substantially lower or statistically insignificant coefficients, as have other studies. In addition, a new method of testing the two competing explanations for computer wage differentials against each other was found: future PC variables were employed in the wage regressions in order to obtain a further control for worker heterogeneity. The finding that future PC variables have a statistically significant effect on current wages leads one to conclude that computer wage differentials can be attributed to worker heterogeneity rather than to computer-induced productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Anger, Silke & Schwarze, Johannes, 2002. "Does future PC use determine our wages today? Evidence from German panel data," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200213
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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. 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 464-491, July.
    3. Miller, Paul & Mulvey, Charles, 1997. "Computer Skills and Wages," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(68), pages 106-113, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Schmidt, Christoph M., 1999. "Money for Nothing and Your Chips for Free? The Anatomy of the PC Wage Differential," IZA Discussion Papers 86, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Brian D. Bell, "undated". "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Wages: Evidence from a Longitudinal Data Se," Economics Papers W25., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1997. "Returns from computer use: A simple test on the productivity interpretation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 273-277, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benoit Dostie & Mathieu Trépanier, 2004. "Return to Computer Use and Organizational Practices of the firm," Cahiers de recherche 04-06, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    2. Schmitt, John & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2006. "Is there an impact of household computer ownership on children's educational attainment in Britain?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 659-673, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Computer wage premium; future computer usage; unobserved ability; technological change;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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