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Title:Essays on the economics of technology
Author(s):Atasoy, Hilal
Director of Research:Lubotsky, Darren H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lubotsky, Darren H.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Deltas, George; Laschever, Ron A.; Hong, Seung-Hyun
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
Abstract:This dissertation studies the adoption and usage patterns of information communication technologies and how the spread of these technologies affects labor market outcomes. I approach this question in three ways. First, I analyze the effects of the expansion of broadband Internet access from 1999 to 2007 on labor market outcomes throughout the United States. Recent federal policy programs have allocated \$18 billion towards subsidizing the spread of this technology, especially to rural areas. Understanding the interplay between technology, firms, and the labor market is important for evaluating whether additional scarce government resources should be allocated to improve this type of infrastructure. Using models that include county and time fixed effects, I find that gaining access to broadband services in a county is associated with about 1.8 percentage points increase in employment rate, with larger effects in rural and isolated areas. Most of the employment gains result from existing firms increasing the scale of their labor demand and from growth in the labor force. These results are consistent with a theoretical model in which broadband technology is complementary to skilled workers. I find larger effects among college-educated workers, and in industries and occupations that employ more college-educated workers. Second, I analyze the adoption and use of information communication technologies (ICTs) by firms and their effects on employment and wages. I use a confidential data set from Turkey that includes detailed surveys focused on how ICTs and the Internet are used by firms. By using the rich survey data, I create an ICT index summarizing ICT adoption and use, along with the skills of the firms, where each category takes into account many applications. The firms with different levels of ICTs differ in many characteristics. I use the generalized propensity score matching method in order to compare firms that are similar in many dimensions such as industry, location, investments, profits, trade balance, and output. I find positive effects of ICTs on employment and wages that are diminishing after a certain level of ICT. These significant effects are due to an increase in ICT-generated jobs and not due to an increase in non-ICT jobs in the short-run. The effects on non-ICT employment become significant a couple years after investments in ICTs. This implies a change in the skill composition of the firms with higher intensity of ICT use, especially in the short run. Third, I analyze workers' ICT skills, and their effects on employment opportunities in developing countries. I employ a confidential data set provided by theTurkish Statistical Institute that includes detailed surveys on ICT use by households and individuals. The data contain information on ICT skills; from the most basic ones to more advanced skills. Workers who have ICT skills are more likely to be employed when individual and household-level observables are held constant. However, this positive relationship is due to the workers who gain these skills at work. These data suggest that for this sample there is significant on-the-job learning for ICT skills, and off-the-job ICT skill acquisition does not lead to higher chances of being employed.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Hilal Atasoy
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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