Technical Change and the Demand for Skills during the Second Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the Merchant Marine, 1891-1912
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.
Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
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