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Numerically controlled machine tools and worker skills

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  • Jeffrey H. Keefe
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    Abstract

    This study investigates the impact of the spread of numerically controlled machine tools on the average skill level of workers in the nonelectrical machinery industry in the United States. Analyzing data from the Industry Wage Surveys of Machinery Manufacturers to trace changes in the skill levels of 57 machining jobs, the author finds that 30 years of the spread of numerically controlled machine tools has resulted in either a very small (1%) reduction in skill levels or no significant change at all, depending on the measure of skill change used. This result supports neither the position of the "post-industrialists," who have argued that this new technology raises overall machine shop skill levels, nor the position of "labor process" theorists, who have argued that it results in deskilling. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 44 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 503-519

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:44:y:1991:i:3:p:503-519

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    Cited by:
    1. David R. Howell & Margaret Duncan & Bennett Harrison, 1998. "Low Wages in the US and High Unemployment in Europe: A Critical Assessment of the Conventional Wisdom," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization., Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School 1998-01, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School, revised Aug 1998.
    2. Johnson, Joanne & Baldwin, John R. & Gray, Tara, 1996. "Avantages salariaux d'origine technologique dans les etablissements canadiens de fabrication pendant les annees 1980," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques 1996092f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    3. Rimler, Judit, 2003. "Ecset vagy egér. Mesterségbeli tudás és magas szintű technika
      [Brush or mouse. Occupational capabilities and high technology]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1095-1114.
    4. David R. Howell, 1993. "Technological Change and the Demand for Skills in the 1980s: Does Skill Mismatch Explain the Growth of Low Earnings?," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_101, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Johnson, Joanne & Baldwin, John R. & Gray, Tara, 1995. "Technology Use, Training and Plant-specific Knowledge in Manufacturing Establishments," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 1995086e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Johnson, Joanne & Baldwin, John R. & Gray, Tara, 1996. "Technology-induced Wage Premia in Canadian Manufacturing Plants During the 1980s," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 1996092e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.

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