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Information Technology And Learning On-The-Job, James Bessen Nov 2016

Information Technology And Learning On-The-Job, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

Economists disagree how much technology raises demand for workers with pre-existing skills. But technology might affect wages another way: through skills learned on the job. Using instrumental variables on 9 panels of workers from 1989 to 2013, this paper estimates that workers who use information technology (IT) have wage growth that is about 2% greater than non-IT workers, all else equal, implying substantial learning. This effect persists over time, implying sustained productivity growth from IT. Also, it benefits workers both with and without college degrees. Because many more college-educated workers use IT, college wages grow faster, contributing to economic inequality.


Friedrichs And The Move Toward Private Ordering Of Public Employee Wages And Benefits, Maria Hylton Oct 2016

Friedrichs And The Move Toward Private Ordering Of Public Employee Wages And Benefits, Maria Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

In its recent Harris v. Quinn opinion the U.S. Supreme Court (in particular Justice Alito) seemed to welcome a future opportunity to reconsider the 1977 landmark Abood decision in which public sector closed shop employees were not required to join a union but could be subject to fees that cover the costs of “collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes.” Supporters of the Abood approach argue that it is a reasonable compromise that prevents non-members from free riding on the union’s efforts (i.e. enjoying the wages and benefits negotiated by the union without sharing the costs ...


How Computer Automation Affects Occupations: Technology, Jobs, And Skills, James Bessen Oct 2016

How Computer Automation Affects Occupations: Technology, Jobs, And Skills, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

This paper investigates basic relationships between technology and occupations. Building a general occupational model, I look at detailed occupations since 1980 to explore whether computers are related to job losses or other sources of wage inequality. Occupations that use computers grow faster, not slower. This is true even for highly routine and mid-wage occupations. Estimates reject computers as a source of significant net technological unemployment or job polarization. But computerized occupations substitute for other occupations, shifting employment and requiring new skills. Because new skills are costly to learn, computer use is associated with substantially greater within-occupation wage inequality.