Computers, Fax Machines and Wages in Canada: What Really Matters?
Controlling for observable worker attributes, we find that computer use is associated with a wage premium of at most 14%. Following Dinardo and Pischke (1997), we examine the wage premium associated with other tools used on the job. While these authors find a significant wage premium for the use of pencils or for sitting down while working, we find a substantial and robust wage premium for the use of a fax machine. Using a variety of reasonable specifications of wage equations including both a computer use indicator and a fax use indicator, we consistently find a stronger effect for fax machines than for computers. Along with Dinardo and Pischke (1997), we argue that workers who use computers earn more than other employees not because of their computing skills per se, but rather because they have more other unobserved skills - innate or learned through school - than other employees.
Labour, Wages, salaries and other earnings, Globalization and the labour market, Workplace organization, innovation, performance
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