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The Effect of Professionalisation and the Demand for Social Status on the Adoption of New Technologies

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  • Carillo Maria Rosaria

Abstract

Professionalisation has been a process which has profoundly influenced the societies of the most industrialised countries, since it entails a high position in the occupational hierarchy for its members. This has marked effects on the occupational choices of individuals, because the social prestige accorded to an occupation is an important part of the total reward accruing from it. This paper analyses the economic consequences of the phenomenon, concentrating in particular on the effects of technological innovation. The argument put forward is that professionalisation may hamper the diffusion of innovative technologies because it makes the choice of the new professions less attractive. Moreover, it renders the management of high-skilled workers costly for firms, since innovative firms must adopt new technique of human resource management. To the extent that these professions are complementary to the new technologies, their reduced supply and the high cost of their management may be a serious obstacle against the diffusion of technological innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Società editrice il Mulino in its journal Rivista italiana degli economisti.

Volume (Year): (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 473-502

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Handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/3684:y:2000:i:3:p:473-502

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  1. Fershtman, C. & Weiss, Y., 1991. "Social Status , Culture and Economic Performance," Papers, Tel Aviv 32-91, Tel Aviv.
  2. Snower, Dennis J., 1994. "The Low-Skill, Bad-Job Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 999, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Chaim Fershtman, 1993. "Social Status," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1054, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  5. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
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  7. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  8. Acemoglu, Daron, 1994. "Search in the Labour Market, Incomplete Contracts and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Masters, Adrian M, 1998. "Efficiency of Investment in Human and Physical Capital in a Model of Bilateral Search and Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 477-94, May.
  10. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
  11. George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 2002. "Social Assets," PIER Working Paper Archive, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania 06-003, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 04 Jun 2004.
  12. Fershtman, C. & Murphy, K.M., 1993. "Social Status, Education and Growth," Papers, Tel Aviv 8-93, Tel Aviv.
  13. Matthews, Robin C O, 1991. "The Economics of Professional Ethics: Should the Professions Be More Like Business?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 737-50, July.
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  15. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents," Papers, Stockholm - International Economic Studies 661, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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