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The role of general and firm-specific training for new technology adoption and economic growth: a critical review


  • R. Antonietti


Aim of this article is to present an overview of the main economic literature focusing on the issue of how technology adoption and the accumulation of technical skills by firms affects the aggregate performance of economic systems. Since the analysis is labour‐demand oriented, a differentiation between a ‘mainstream’ and a ‘non‐mainstream’ approach is supposed to be crucial, the first being consistent with the neoclassical paradigm of the firm and human capital, while the second with the Schumpeterian paradigm and the so called view of the firm as a ‘learning organization’. Going through the basic models, the paper argues that while the mainstream approach is primarily based on production costs analyses and the capacity of the market and hierarchies to provide the specific skills in order for workers to deal with new technologies, non‐mainstream approaches are mainly oriented to the analysis of dynamic competition, entrepreneurial/managerial skills and within‐firm organizational learning processes that are necessary in order to cope with a changing environment.

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  • R. Antonietti, 2005. "The role of general and firm-specific training for new technology adoption and economic growth: a critical review," Working Papers 538, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:538

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    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    2. Helpman, Elhanan & Rangel, Antonio, 1999. "Adjusting to a New Technology: Experience and Training," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 359-383, December.
    3. Eliasson, Gunnar, 1977. "Competition and Market Processes in a Simulation Model of the Swedish Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 277-281, February.
    4. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-482, June.
    5. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis Snower, 2000. "The Division of Labor and the Market for Organizations," CESifo Working Paper Series 267, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Ballot, Gerard & Taymaz, Erol, 2001. "Training policies and economic growth in an evolutionary world," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 311-329, September.
    7. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Wage Inequality and the New Economy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 306-323.
    8. Cecilia Chaing & Lindsay McSweeney, 2010. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 6.
    9. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    10. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    11. Richardson, G B, 1972. "The Organisation of Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 883-896, September.
    12. Ballot, Gérard & Taymaz, Erol, 1993. "Firm-Sponsored Training, Technical Progress and Aggregate Performance in a Micro-Macro Model," Working Paper Series 402, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    13. Zon, Adriaan van & Antonietti, Roberto, 2005. "Education and Training in a Model of Endogenous Growth with Creative Destruction," Research Memorandum 010, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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    Cited by:

    1. Boothby, Daniel & Dufour, Anik & Tang, Jianmin, 2010. "Technology adoption, training and productivity performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 650-661, June.
    2. R. Antonietti, 2006. "The skill content of technological change. Some conjectures on the role of education and job-training in reducing the timing of new technology adoption," Working Papers 556, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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