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Technical Change and the Demand for Skills during the Second Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the Merchant Marine, 1891-1912

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  • Aimee Chin

    (University of Houston)

  • Chinhui Juhn

    (University of Houston)

  • Peter Thompson

    (Florida International University)

Abstract

Using a large, individual-level wage data set, we examine the impact of a major technological innovation-the steam engine-on the demand for skills in the merchant shipping industry. We find that the technical change created a new demand for engineers, a skilled occupation. It had a deskilling effect on production work-moderately skilled able-bodied seamen were replaced by unskilled engine room operatives. On the other hand, able-bodied seamen, carpenters, and mates employed on steam vessels earned a premium relative to their counterparts on sail vessels, and this appears partly related to skill. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 572-578

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:3:p:572-578

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Cited by:
  1. Darrell J. Glaser & Ahmed S. Rahman, 2012. "Naval Engineering and Labor Specialization during the Industrial Revolution," Departmental Working Papers, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics 38, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  2. Rowena Gray, 2011. "Taking Technology to Task: The Skill Content of Technological Change in Early Twentieth Century United States," Working Papers, European Historical Economics Society (EHES) 0009, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  3. Hynninen, Sanna-Mari & Ojala, Jari & Pehkonen, Jaakko, 2013. "Technological change and wage premiums: Historical evidence from linked employer–employee data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-11.

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