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Power, productivity and profits


  • Peter Skott

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Frederick Guy

    () (Birkbeck College)


New information and communication technologies, we argue, have been 'power-biased': in many industries they have allowed firms to monitor workers more closely, thus reducing the power of these workers. An efficiency wage model shows that 'power-biased technical change' in this sense may generate rising inequality accompanied by an increase in both unemployment and work intensity. JEL Categories: J31, O33

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2007. "Power, productivity and profits," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2007-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2007-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
    2. Peter Skott, 1992. "Imperfect Competition and the Theory of the Falling Rate of Profit," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 101-113, March.
    3. Donald Katzner & Peter Skott, 2001. "Economic explanation, ordinality and the adequacy of analytic specification," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 437-453.
    4. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, December.
    5. Francis Green, 2002. "Why Has Work Effort Become More Intense?," Studies in Economics 0207, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    7. Gintis, Herbert & Ishikawa, Tsuneo, 1987. "Wages, work intensity, and unemployment," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 195-228, June.
    8. Green, Francis & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "The intensification of work in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 291-308, May.
    9. Hall, Peter A. & Soskice, David (ed.), 2001. "Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247752.
    10. Matias Ramirez & Frederick Guy & David Beale, 2007. "Contested Resources: Unions, Employers, and the Adoption of New Work Practices in US and UK Telecommunications," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(3), pages 495-517, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan F. Cogliano & Roberto Veneziani & Naoki Yoshihara, 2016. "The Dynamics of Exploitation and Class in Accumulation Economies," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 242-290, May.

    More about this item


    power-biased technical change; efficiency wages; inequality; work intensity.;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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