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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Boston University School of Law




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.

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