The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use
New technologies like computers alter skill requirements. This paper explores two related effects of the spread of computers on older workers, using data from the Current Population Survey and the Health and Retirement Study. One conclusion is that impending retirement, rather than age alone, explains why older workers used computers less than prime-age workers. A second conclusion is that computer users retired later than non-users. Although this pattern may arise because workers planning later retirement decided to acquire computer skills, the empirical analysis suggests that the causation also went in the other direction, with computer users choosing to delay retirement. It will be important to understand these effects as the baby boom cohort nears retirement, while technologies continue to change rapidly.
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