Has technology hurt less skilled workers? A survey of the micro-econometric evidence
There is a growing concern in advanced countries that the position of less skilled workers has deteriorated, either through their ability to secure jobs and/or their ability to earn a decent wage. Some have linked this decline to modern computing technologies. This paper surveys the evidence on the effects of technical change on skills, wages and employment by examining the micro-econometric evidence (we take this to include studies at the industry, firm, plant and individual levels). We focus on over 70 empirical studies that have used direct measures of technology (rather than associating technology with a residual time trend). We first point to three basic methodological problems relating to endogeneity, fixed effects and measurement. Our survey comes to the following tentative conclusions: (i) there is a strong effect of technology on skills in the cross section which appears reasonably robust to various econometric problems; (ii) there is a strong effect of diffusion of technologies on wages in the cross section which is not robust to endogeneity and fixed effects; (iii) at the firm level product innovations appear to raise employment growth, but there is no clear evidence of a robust effect (either positive or negative) of process innovations or R&D on jobs.
|Date of creation:||01 Jan 1999|
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1995.
"Technological Change and the Skill Acquisition of Young Workers,"
NBER Working Papers
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756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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- James D Adams, 1997.
"The Structure of Firm R&D and the Factor Intensity of Production,"
97-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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- Steven G. Allen, 1996.
"Technology and the Wage Structure,"
NBER Working Papers
5534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1997.
"Technological Change and Wages: An Inter-Industry Analysis,"
NBER Working Papers
5941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
- Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
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