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Skills, Job Control and the Quality of Work:The Evidence from Britain Geary Lecture 2012


  • Duncan Gallie

    (Nuffield College, Oxford)


In the last decade and a half there has been a marked increase in the interest of European policymakers in the quality of work. In part this reflects the concern to give greater content to the notion of a social Europe, and in part it stems from a growing awareness that the cherished employment objectives of the European Union (in particular with respect to women and older workers) will be difficult to achieve unless jobs offer a degree of intrinsic interest and levels of work pressure that are compatible with psychological health. However, it is notable how little policy discussion draws on the growing evidence from empirical research. This paper aims to trace some of the principal developments in the research agenda and in substantive knowledge, drawing on a major programme of British empirical research over the last two decades. It focuses on two core aspects of work quality – skill on the one hand and job control on the other. These have been central to the debate about job quality since its earliest days. The next section outlines the evolving debate among researchers about underlying trends in the skill and control and the following section examines the emerging picture from the empirical evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Duncan Gallie, 2012. "Skills, Job Control and the Quality of Work:The Evidence from Britain Geary Lecture 2012," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(3), pages 325-341.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:43:y:2012:i:3:p:325-341

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    2. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
    3. Gallie, Duncan & White, Michael & Cheng, Yuan & Tomlinson, Mark, 1998. "Restructuring the Employment Relationship," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294412.
    4. Duncan Gallie & Alan Felstead & Francis Green, 2001. "Employer Policies and Organizational Commitment in Britain 1992–97," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(8), pages 1081-1101, December.
    5. Oesch, Daniel & Rodriguez Menes, Jorge, 2010. "Upgrading or polarization? Occupational change in Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, 1990-2008," MPRA Paper 21040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Duncan Gallie, 2009. "Institutional regimes and employee influence at work: a European comparison," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 2(3), pages 379-393.
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    Cited by:

    1. Filandri, Marianna & Nazio, Tiziana & O'Reilly, Jacqueline, 2018. "Youth transitions and job quality: How long should they wait and what difference does the family make?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 271-293.

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