Willingness to be Paid: Who Trains for Tech Jobs?

48 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2020 Last revised: 17 Nov 2020

Date Written: November 5, 2020


Having a larger high-skill workforce increases productivity, so it is useful to understand how workers self-select into high-paying technology (tech) jobs. This study examines how workers decide whether or not to pursue tech, through an experiment in which subjects are offered a short programming job. Despite the persistent gender gap in computer science fields, female subjects in this incentivized experiment are equally confident and willing to program. The most important determinants of the ``reservation wage" for college students to do computer programming is whether they enjoy it, and also their opportunity cost of time. Two treatments were introduced to increase confidence. Randomly assigned extra information about the programming task has no effect. In some circumstances, an encouraging message lowers confidence and raises the reservation wage subjects require to do programming.

Keywords: Information Technology, skills, labor supply, experiments

JEL Classification: C91, J24, J22

Suggested Citation

Buchanan, Joy, Willingness to be Paid: Who Trains for Tech Jobs? (November 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3532834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3532834

Joy Buchanan (Contact Author)

Samford University ( email )

800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

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