Classical Labour-Displacing Technological Change: The Case of the US Insurance Industry
The post-war American insurance industry has undergone a profound change in the structure of demand for labour owing to massive mechanisation in the form of both automation and computerisation. This paper finds that the classical dynamic of labour-displacing technological change--as identified by Smith, Ricardo, Babbage, Marx, as well as Keynes and Schumpeter--has been a persistent feature of this sector. Moreover, while the loci of mechanisation initially focused on clerical employment, the drive for further cost reductions in labour-intensive professional activities including accounting, actuarial, insurance agents and underwriting have now become the focus of further mechanisation. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.
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Volume (Year): 25 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
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