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Technological Bias and Unemployment: A Macroeconomic Perspective


  • Sneessens, Henri R.

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) ; Faculté Libre de Sciences Economiques, Lille)


This paper focuses on the macroeconomic impact of introducing new technologies (among which information technologies) when the latter stimulate the relative demand for high-skilled labour. The fact that there is biased technical progress (or at least, that growth has asymmetric effects) is little disputed. Evaluating its effect on unemployment still remains a difficult task. This paper stresses the need to rely on a genuine structural analysis. To clarify some of these issues, we develop a simple analytical framework with two types of labour (high- and low-skilled). This framework is used to distinguish macroeconomic vs structural shocks, and to illustrate the interactions between macroeconomic and structural phenomena as well as their implications for the interpretation of simple mismatch indicators. The framework is next used as a reference setup wherein to evaluate and compare the empirical modelling approaches used by different authors and the results they obtain.

Suggested Citation

  • Sneessens, Henri R., 1998. "Technological Bias and Unemployment: A Macroeconomic Perspective," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1999024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Aug 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:1999024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Aizenman, Joshua, 1997. "Technological change, relative wages, and unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 187-205, February.
    2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 427-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Manacorda, Marco & Petrongolo, Barbara, 1999. "Skill Mismatch and Unemployment in OECD Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 181-207, May.
    4. Henri Sneessens, 1994. "Croissance, qualifications et chômage," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 9(4), pages 1-33.
    5. Machin, Steve & Van Reenen, John, 1996. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from an International Panel of Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:crs:wpaper:9652 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1999. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 843-877, August.
    8. Shadman-Mehta, Fatemeh & Sneessens, Henri, 1995. "Skill Demand and Factor Substitution," CEPR Discussion Papers 1279, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Dreze, Jacques H., 1997. "Walras--Keynes equilibria coordination and macroeconomics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1735-1762, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Henri SNEESSENS & Fatemeh SHADMAN-MEHTA, 2000. "Chocs asymétriques et persistance du chômage : Wallonie et Flandre comparées," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2001024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

    More about this item


    Mismatch; equilibrium unemployment; NAIRU; skill bias;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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