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Technology and the Demand for Skills

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  • Edward N. Wolff

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

Abstract

The U.S. economy has undergone major structural changes since 1950. First, there has been a gradual shift of employment from goods-producing industries to service-providing industries. Second, since the 1970s at least, the availability of new information-based technologies has made possible substantial adjustments in operations and organizational re- structuring of firms. This has been accelerated, in part, by sharply increasing competition from imports. Evidence from industry level case studies indicate that this restructuring is likely to have important consequences for the level and composition of skills required in the U.S. workplace (see Adler, 1986, and Zuboff, 1988). The direction and extent of changes in skill levels over the longer run has, however, been more uncertain, with case studies often finding a deskilling of the content of production jobs and aggregate studies finding little change or at most a gradual upgrading in overall occupation mix (see Spenner, 1988, for a survey of this literature). These trends have considerable policy significance since they help determine education and training needs. One important result of this paper, for example, is that a growing mismatch has been occurring between skill requirements of the workplace and educational attainment of the workforce, with the latter increasing much more rapidly than the former.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9810004.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 20 Oct 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9810004

Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 44; figures: included
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Spitz, Alexandra, 2003. "IT Capital, Job Content and Educational Attainment," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Peter Skott, 2005. "Wage inequality and overeducation in a model with efficiency wages," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-06, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  3. Edward N. Wolff, . "Skills, Computerization, and Earnings in the Postwar U.S. Economy," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_331, Levy Economics Institute.
  4. M. Piva & E. Santarelli & M. Vivarelli, 2003. "The Skill Bias Effect of Technological and Organisational Change: Evidenceand Policy Implications," Working Papers 486, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  5. Peter Dolton, 2001. "Over education in the graduate labour market: Some evidence from alumni data," CEE Discussion Papers 0009, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  6. Edward N. Wolff, 2005. "Computerization and Rising Unemployment Duration," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 507-536, Fall.
  7. Bruinshoofd,Allard & Weel,Bas,ter, 1998. "Skill-biased technical change: On technology and wages in the Netherlands," Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  8. Soete,Luc & Weel,Bas,ter, 1999. "Innovation, Knowledge Creation and Technology Policy in Europe," Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  9. Prashanth Mahagaonkar & Rainer Schweickert & Aditya S. Chavali, 2009. "Sectoral R&D Intensity and Exchange Rate Volatility: A Panel Study for OECD Countries," Kiel Working Papers 1531, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  10. Xavier Cuadras Morató & Xavier Mateos-Planas, 2006. "Wage inequality and unemployment with overeducation," Economics Working Papers 938, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Paul Auerbach & Peter Skott, . "Skill Asymmetries, Increasing Wage Inequality and Unemployment," Economics Working Papers 2000-18, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  12. Peter Skott & Paul Auerbach, 2004. "Wage inequality and skill asymmetries," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-03, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  13. Peter Skott, 2004. "Fairness as a source of hysteresis in employment and relative wages," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-04, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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