The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?

32 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2000

See all articles by John E. DiNardo

John E. DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jörn-Steffen Pischke

London School of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1996

Abstract

Are the large measured wage differentials associated with on-the-job computer use productivity gains or the result of unobserved heterogeneity? We examine this issue with three large cross-sectional surveys from Germany. First, we confirm that the estimated wage differentials associated with computer use in Germany are very similar to the U.S. differential. Second, using the same techniques we also measure large differentials for on-the-job use of calculators, telephones, pens or pencils, or for those who work while sitting down. Along with our reanalysis of the U.S. data these findings cast some doubt on the interpretation of the computer-use wage differential as reflecting productivity effects arising from the introduction of computers in the workplace.

Suggested Citation

DiNardo, John and Pischke, Jörn-Steffen (Steve), The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too? (June 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5606. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225544

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Jörn-Steffen (Steve) Pischke

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