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The Effects of Changes in the Unemployment Compensation System on the Adoption of IT by Older Workers

  • Spitz, Alexandra
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    Two main hypotheses can be found in literature on why elderly workers have a lower probability of using information technology than their younger peers: lower learning capabilities and reduced incentives to invest in human capital. I use law changes in the unemployment compensation system enacted in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s to demonstrate that ?incentives? are more important than ?capabilities? in determining variation in IT usage. Elderly workers only fell behind the IT usage rates of their younger peers during the 1980s and 1990s, when unemployment benefits got increasingly generous, thereby reducing their incentives to invest in human capital.

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/24131/1/dp0540.pdf
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    Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 05-40.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:3283
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    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    4. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-78, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Spitz, Alexandra, 2004. "Are Skill Requirements in the Workplace Rising? Stylized Facts and Evidence on Skill-Biased Technological Change," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-33, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    8. Barbara Berkel & Axel Börsch-Supan, 2004. "Pension Reform in Germany: The Impact on Retirement Decisions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(3), pages 393-, September.
    9. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter, 2002. "Do Older Workers Have More Trouble Using a Computer Than Younger Workers?," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    10. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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