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Are New Work Practices and New Technologies Biased against Immigrant Workers?


  • Rosholm, Michael

    () (Aarhus University)

  • Roed, Marianne

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Schone, Pal

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)


New technologies and new work practices have been introduced and implemented over a broad range in the production process in most advanced industrialised countries during the last two decades. New work organisation practices like team organisation and job rotation require interpersonal communication to a larger extent compared to the traditional assembly line types of production. In addition to handling the formal language, communication in this respect includes country-specific skills related to understanding social and cultural codes, unwritten rules, implicit communication, norms etc. In this paper we analyse whether these developments – by increasing the importance of communication and informal human capital – have had a negative effect on employment opportunities of immigrants. The results show that firms that use PCs intensively and firms that give their employees broad autonomy employ fewer non-Western immigrants who have not been raised in Norway (i.e. arrived as adults). Furthermore, the negative relationships are especially strong for low-skilled non-Western immigrants. These results may add support to the hypothesis stating that new technologies and (some) new work practices are biased against non-Western immigrant workers, and especially those with low formal skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosholm, Michael & Roed, Marianne & Schone, Pal, 2006. "Are New Work Practices and New Technologies Biased against Immigrant Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 2135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2135

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marco Manacorda & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2006. "The Impact of Immigration on the Structure of Male Wages: Theory and Evidence from Britain," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0608, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. David McKenzie & Pilar Garcia Martinez & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "Who is coming from Vanuatu to New Zealand under the new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0806, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    4. Kjersti-Gro Lindquist & Terje Skjerpen, 2000. "Explaining the change in skill structure of labour demand in Norwegian manufacturing," Discussion Papers 293, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Kjell G. Salvanes & Svein Erik F¯rre, 2003. "Effects on Employment of Trade and Technical Change: Evidence from Norway," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 293-329, May.
    6. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and the Choice of Technique," Working Papers 05-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Pedersen, Peder J. & Smith, Nina, 2001. "Unemployment Traps: Do Financial Disincentives Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 274, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    9. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from A Panel of British and French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10054 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Fan, C. Simon & Wei, Xiangdong & Zhang, Junsen, 2005. ""Soft" Skills, "Hard" Skills, and the Black/White Earnings Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 1804, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Machin, Steve, 1994. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eleonora Mussino & Ann-Zofie Duvander, 2016. "Use It or Save It? Migration Background and Parental Leave Uptake in Sweden," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(2), pages 189-210, May.

    More about this item


    immigrants; employment; new work practices; new technology;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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