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The Division of Labour, Worker Organisation, and Technological Change

Listed author(s):
  • Borghans, Lex

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

  • ter Weel, Bas

    ()

    (SEO Amsterdam)

The model developed in this paper explains differences in the division of labour across firms as a result of computer technology adoption. We find that changes in the division of labour can result both from reduced production time and from improved communication possibilities. The first shifts the division of labour towards a more generic structure, while the latter enhances specialisation. Although there exists heterogeneity, our estimates for a representative sample of Dutch establishments in the period 1990-1996 suggest that productivity gains have been the main determinant for shifts in the division of labour within most firms. These productivity gains have induced skill upgrading, while in firms gaining mainly from improved communication possibilities specialisation increased and skill requirements have fallen.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1709.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1709.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2006, 116 (509), F45-F72
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1709
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  1. Irene Bertschek & Ulrich Kaiser, 2004. "Productivity Effects of Organizational Change: Microeconometric Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 394-404, March.
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  12. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
  15. Paul Osterman, 2000. "Work Reorganization in an Era of Restructuring: Trends in Diffusion and Effects on Employee Welfare," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 179-196, January.
  16. Borghans, Lex & ter Weel, Bas, 2004. "What happens when agent T gets a computer?: The labor market impact of cost efficient computer adoption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 137-151, June.
  17. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  18. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1996. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9597, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Scholarly Articles 12502063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  27. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590805 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-1146, September.
  29. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter, 2002. "Do Older Workers Have More Trouble Using a Computer Than Younger Workers?," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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