The Returns to Pencil Use Revisited

39 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2007

See all articles by Alexandra Spitz-Oener

Alexandra Spitz-Oener

Humboldt University of Berlin; Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

The increased diffusion of computers is one of the fundamental changes at workplaces in recent decades. While the majority of workers now spend a substantial fraction of their working day with a computer, research on the wage effect of computer use effectively came to a halt after DiNardo and Pischke [1997] found that wages were also positively associated with pencil use, calling into question the ability to distinguish the effect of computers from other confounding factors. Using the same data set as DiNardo and Pischke, but a more recent wave, this paper revitalizes the discussion by showing that the pencil effect disappeared in 1998/99, whereas the computer effect is still present. Computer users - but not pencil users - have experienced a pronounced shift towards analytical and interactive tasks, for which they are rewarded in the workplace.

Keywords: computer wage differential, pencil wage differentials, changing skill requirements

JEL Classification: J31, C13

Suggested Citation

Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, The Returns to Pencil Use Revisited (April 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2729, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=982123

Alexandra Spitz-Oener (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB) ( email )

Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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