Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure

50 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2008

See all articles by Lex Borghans

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics; University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bas ter Weel

University of Amsterdam - SEO Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

We review the empirical literature about the implications of the computerization of the labor market to see whether it can explain observed computer adoption patterns and (long-term) changes in the wage structure. Evidence from empirical micro studies turns out to be inconsistent with macro studies that are based on CES production functions. We propose a micro foundation for the CES production function that allows for changes in the underlying structure. We adapt the macro model by incorporating computer skills, complementary skills and fixed costs for computer technology usage suggested by the micro literature. It turns out that fixed costs for computer technology usage explain different patterns of computer adoption and diffusion between several types of workers and countries; it also provides very plausible patterns of the timing of wage inequality and developments over time.

Keywords: wage level of structure, computer technology, technology diffusion

JEL Classification: J31, O15, O33

Suggested Citation

Borghans, Lex and ter Weel, Bas, Understanding the Technology of Computer Technology Diffusion: Explaining Computer Adoption Patterns and Implications for the Wage Structure. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3792, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1293584 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Lex Borghans (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bas Ter Weel

University of Amsterdam - SEO Economic Research ( email )

Roetersstraat 29
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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