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Abstract

Workers who use computers on the job receive higher wages, reflecting com- puter-specific skills as well as broader skills. Even after taking into account differences in personal and job characteristics, industry, and occupational skill levels, there is still a 10-percent premium for use of a computer on the job. This accounts for a small portion of the metro-nonmetro wage gap, since computer use is more common in metro areas. The payoff to using a comput- er on the job is higher for college graduates and for workers with more experi- ence, suggesting that computer skills may be of limited use to those who are otherwise disadvantaged in the labor market. Furthermore, this premium is only about 5 percent in nonmetro areas, while it is more than 12 percent in metro areas, suggesting that computer training will be of limited benefit to rural residents unless they are prepared to move to urban areas.

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