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Employee Education, Information and Communication Technology, Workplace Organization and Trade: A Comparative Analysis of Greek and Swiss Enterprises

This paper aims at investigating empirically at the firm level the effect of the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT), and also of two other factors, the adoption of new forms of workplace organization and trade (export) activities, on the demand for employees with different levels of (vocational) education. The study is based on firm-level data collected through a common questionnaire from firms’ samples of similar composition (concerning firm sizes and industries) in Greece and Switzerland; from these data econometric models of similar specification have been constructed for both countries. The results of multivariate analysis show that the intensive use of ICT correlates positively with the employment shares of high-educated personnel and negatively with the ones of the loweducated personnel. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis of ‘skill-biased technical change’. Further, the intensive use of “employee voice”-oriented organizational practices correlates positively with the employment shares of high-educated employees in both countries, and also negatively with the employment share of low-educated ones only for the Swiss firms. The results for the “work design” organizational practices are more ambiguous. Thus, there is only partial confirmation of the hypothesis of skilled-biased organizational change. Finally, we found some evidence in favour of the trade effect (export activities) only for the Swiss firms. Our results show both similarities and differences in the above aspects between Greece and Switzerland and indicate that national context characteristics affect the relationship of the demand for employees with different levels of (vocational) education with ICT use, adoption of new forms of workplace organization and trade.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 09-234.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:09-234
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