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Implications of Information Technology for Employment, Skills, and Wages: Findings from Sectoral and Case Study Research

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Publication Date:
Jan 2003
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Future of Work

A previous review examined conceptual issues, historical information, and econometric evidence regarding the impact of information technology (IT) on employment, skills, and wages (see Handel 2003). This review examines evidence from industry-specific and case studies for the light they shed on key issues raised in the previous paper, i.e., the extent to which IT eliminates jobs, raises job skill requirements, and, consequently, contributes to increased wage inequality between less- and moreskilled workers. The concern is particularly relevant for the last twenty years, during which wage inequality rose dramatically, especially in the 1980s. As reviewed in Handel (2003), many economists believe that computers and information technology have increased the demand for human capital, an idea known as skill-biased technological change. Sectoral and case study evidence are particularly valuable because they tend to give a much more concrete idea of how specific technologies affect jobs in particular contexts.

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