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Power, productivity and profits


Author Info

  • Peter Skott

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Frederick Guy

    (Birkbeck College)


New information and communication technologies, we argue, have been 'power-biased': in many industries they have allowed firms to monitor workers more closely, thus reducing the power of these workers. An efficiency wage model shows that 'power-biased technical change' in this sense may generate rising inequality accompanied by an increase in both unemployment and work intensity. JEL Categories: J31, O33

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2007-02.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2007-02

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Keywords: power-biased technical change; efficiency wages; inequality; work intensity.;

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  1. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  2. Larry W. Hunter & John J. Lafkas, 2003. "Opening the box: Information technology, work practices, and wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 224-243, January.
  3. Matias Ramirez & Frederick Guy & David Beale, 2007. "Contested Resources: Unions, Employers, and the Adoption of New Work Practices in US and UK Telecommunications," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(3), pages 495-517, 09.
  4. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, December.
  5. Francis Green, 2002. "Why Has Work Effort Become More Intense?," Studies in Economics 0207, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  6. Donald Katzner & Peter Skott, 2001. "Economic explanation, ordinality and the adequacy of analytic specification," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 437-453.
  7. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 1998. "Union power, cost of job loss, and workers' effort," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 363-383, April.
  8. Green, Francis & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "The intensification of work in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 291-308, May.
  9. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  10. Gintis, Herbert & Ishikawa, Tsuneo, 1987. "Wages, work intensity, and unemployment," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 195-228, June.
  11. Hall, Peter A. & Soskice, David (ed.), 2001. "Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247752, September.
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Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Monetizability
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-07-28 13:53:23
  2. Inequality & power
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-05-20 17:33:31
  3. Class matters
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-05-18 12:43:32
  4. Looks & earnings
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-05-16 15:23:21
  5. Profits & top incomes
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-10-31 09:47:10
  6. Miliband on immigration
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-09-29 13:05:08
  7. The tendency for the rate of profit to rise
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-04-07 12:48:41
  8. Economics as Feynman's onion
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-07-05 10:14:27
  9. Bonuses, power and inequality
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-02-08 11:15:00
  10. Immigration & wages: more evidence
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-11-03 17:42:02
  11. Debuncification
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-12-28 14:35:29
  12. Why is the middle squeezed?
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-03-27 14:18:02
  13. Efficiency wages for MPs?
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-04-10 14:01:23


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