This paper examines whether employees who use a computer at work earn
a higher wage rate than otherwise similar workers who do not use a computer
at work. The analysis primarily relies on data from the Current Population
Survey and the High School and Beyond Survey. A variety of statistical
models are estimated to try to correct for unobserved variables that might
be correlated with both job-related computer use and earnings. The
estimates suggest that workers who use computers on their job earn roughly
a 10 to 15 percent higher wage rate. In addition, the estimates suggest
that the expansion in computer use in the 1980s can account for between
one-third and one-half of the observed increase in the rate of return to
education. Finally, occupations that experienced greater growth in
computer use between 1984 and 1989 also experienced above average wage

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol 108, No. 1, February 1993
Krueger, A. (1991). How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-89. Retrieved from (Original work published August 1991)
Working Papers

What effect does a severe disability' have on individuals’ employment and
earnings? Has the computer revolution lessened the adverse labor market
consequences of severe disabilities? This paper investigates the labor market
effects of severe, traumatic disabilities resulting from spinal cord injuries
(SCI’s). We compare the employment experiences of a sample of individuals with
SCI’s to those of former co-workers over the same period, and to two random
samples of individuals in New Jersey. The analysis is based in large part on a
1994 telephone survey of New Jersey adults who had SCI’s within the past ten
years. Results indicate that the occurrence of an SCI causes a steep decline in
employment, hours worked, and weekly earnings, but relatively little change in
wage rates for those who work. The computer revolution has the potential to
expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our results
indicate that having computer skills is associated with higher earnings, and a
faster return to work and earnings recovery, for SCI individuals, after holding
constant other variables such as education. There is no apparent earnings gap
between SCI and non-SCI computer users, whereas among those who do not use
computers at work the earnings of SCI employees lag behind those of non-SCI
employees. Despite the benefits, individuals with SCI’s are less likely to use
computers than the general population.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Kruse, D., & Krueger, A. (1995). Labor Market Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries in the Dawn of the Computer Age. Retrieved from (Original work published October 1995)
Working Papers