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.
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Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
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