NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Technical Change, Learning, and Wages

Ann P. Bartel, Frank R. Lichtenberg

NBER Working Paper No. 2732 (Also Reprint No. r1599)
Issued in October 1988
NBER Program(s):   LS   PR

This paper examines the relationship between technological change and wages using pooled cross-sectional industry-level data and several alternative indicators of the rate of introduction of new technology. Our main finding is that industries with a high rate of technical change pay higher wages to workers of given age and education, compared to less technologically advanced industries. This is Consistent with the notion that the introduction of new technology creates a demand for learning, that learning is a function of employee ability and effort, and that increases in wages are required to elicit increases in ability and effort. A related finding is that the wages of highly educated workers (especially recent graduates) relative to those of less educated workers are highest in technologically advanced industries; this is consistent with the notion that educated workers are better learners.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2732

Published: "The Age of Technology and Its Impact on Employee Wages." From Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Vol. 1, pp. 215-231, (1991).

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