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Training and age-biased technical change

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  • BEHAGHEL Luc
  • GREENAN Nathalie

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Abstract

Can an ageing labour force sustain rapid technical and organisational changes? This depends on the ability of older workers to adapt their skills through training. Using a matched employer-employee dataset on the French manufacturing sector in the 1990s, we investigate whether training incidence increases in response to technical and organisational changes, and whether this response varies with age. In low-skill occupations, workers older than 50 suffer from reduced training incidence when firms implement advanced information technologies, in sharp contrast with the increased training incidence among workers younger than 50. But training responses are not systematically unfavourable to older workers; in particular, new organisational practices tend to raise training incidence among all groups of workers, regardless of age and occupation. The results hold when controlling for workers’ selection and when using instrumental variables to take into account the endogenous use of new technologies and new organisational practices. These findings confirm that technical change is biased against older low-skilled workers. But they also suggest that older age and a shorter career horizon do not constitute a systematic barrier to training. The difficulties faced by older low-skill workers born in the 1940s may rather be due to the fact that they lack the basic computer literacy that is a prerequisite for training in advanced IT.

Suggested Citation

  • BEHAGHEL Luc & GREENAN Nathalie, 2007. "Training and age-biased technical change," Research Unit Working Papers 0705, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lea:leawpi:0705
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Aubert & Ève Caroli & Muriel Roger, 2006. "Nouvelles technologies et nouvelles formes d'organisation du travail. Quelles conséquences pour l'emploi des salariés âgés ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1329-1349.
    2. Luc Behaghel & Eve Caroli & Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2012. "Information and communication technologies and skill upgrading: the role of internal vs external labour markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 490-517, July.
    3. Ferreira,Francisco H. G. & Firpo,Sergio P. & Messina,Julian, 2017. "Ageing poorly? : accounting for the decline in earnings inequality in Brazil, 1995-2012," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8018, The World Bank.
    4. Fries, Jan, 2014. "Age and skill bias of trade liberalisation? Heterogeneous employment effects of EU Eastern Enlargement," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-113, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Nathalie Greenan & Mathieu Narcy & Serge Volkoff, 2012. "Ageing, changes, and quality of working life," Working Papers halshs-00856252, HAL.
    6. Karakaya, Güngör, 2008. "Early cessation of activity in the labour market: impact of supply and demand factors," MPRA Paper 13390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Nathalie Greenan & Mathieu Narcy & Stéphane Robin, 2013. "Changements dans les entreprises et accès des seniors à la formation continue : une comparaison entre les années 1990 et 2000," Working Papers halshs-00965730, HAL.
    8. Nathalie Greenan & Pierre-Jean Messe, 2014. "Transmission of vocational skills at the end of career: horizon effect and technological or organisational change," Working Papers halshs-01143496, HAL.
    9. Luc Behaghel & Eve Caroli & Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2008. "Innovation and skill upgrading: The role of external vs internal labour markets," Working Papers halshs-00588316, HAL.
    10. Marc-Arthur Diaye & Nathalie Greenan & Claude Minni & Sonia Rosa Marques, 2006. "Renouvellement des générations, précarité de l'emploi des jeunes et dynamique technologique des entreprises," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1295-1328.
    11. Pål Schøne, 2009. "New technologies, new work practices and the age structure of the workers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 803-826, July.
    12. Luc Behaghel & Eve Caroli & Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2009. "Do internal labour markets survive in the New Economy? The Case of France," Working Papers halshs-00567682, HAL.
    13. Schneider, Lutz, 2007. "Alterung und technologisches Innovationspotential : Eine Linked-Employer-Employee-Analyse," IWH Discussion Papers 2/2007, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    14. Luc Behaghel, 2006. "Changement technologique et formation tout au long de la vie," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1351-1382.
    15. Sévane Ananian & Patrick Aubert & Luc Behaghel, 2006. "Travailleurs âgés, nouvelles technologies et changements organisationnels : un réexamen à partir de l'enquête « Reponse ». Suivi d'un commentaire de Luc Behaghel : emploi des seniors - Des effets du c," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 397(1), pages 21-49.
    16. Philippe Zamora, 2006. "Changements organisationnels, technologiques et recours à la formation dans les entreprises industrielles," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1235-1257.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    technical change; organisational change; training; older workers;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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