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The role of education in technology use and adoption: Evidence from the Canadian workplace and employee survey

Technology use and adoption by firms and workers is a critical component of the process of technological change. Relying on data from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey, this study assesses the causal effects of education on technology use and adoption by using instrumental variables for schooling derived from Canadian compulsory school attendance laws. The authors find that education increases the probability of using computers on the job, and that employees with more education spend more time using computers and have longer work experiences with computers than those with less education. Education does not, however, influence the use of computer-controlled and computer-assisted devices or other technological devices such as cash registers and sales terminals. These findings are consistent with the view that formal education increases the use of technologies that require or enable workers to carry out higher-order tasks, but not those involving routine workplace tasks.