Publication Date

October 2006


The paper assesses the relationship between investments in computer skills by adolescents and earnings at age 26. The heaviest investors earned 9 to 16 percent more than otherwise equivalent NELS-88 classmates. The payoff to early computer skills was substantial in jobs involving intense and complex uses of computers; negligible when computers were not used at work. It was non-gaming use of computers outside of school that enhanced future earnings, not playing video/computer games—which lowered earnings. Children in low SES families invested less in computer skills and thus benefited less from the job opportunities generated by the digital revolution.


Suggested Citation
Mane, F., & Bishop, J. H. (2006). Are early investments in computer skills rewarded in the labor market? (CAHRS Working Paper #06-18). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.