IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Technology and the Demand for Skills

Listed author(s):
  • Edward N. Wolff

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

The U.S. economy has undergone major structural changes since 1950. First, there has been a gradual shift of employment from goods-producing industries to service-providing industries. Second, since the 1970s at least, the availability of new information-based technologies has made possible substantial adjustments in operations and organizational re- structuring of firms. This has been accelerated, in part, by sharply increasing competition from imports. Evidence from industry level case studies indicate that this restructuring is likely to have important consequences for the level and composition of skills required in the U.S. workplace (see Adler, 1986, and Zuboff, 1988). The direction and extent of changes in skill levels over the longer run has, however, been more uncertain, with case studies often finding a deskilling of the content of production jobs and aggregate studies finding little change or at most a gradual upgrading in overall occupation mix (see Spenner, 1988, for a survey of this literature). These trends have considerable policy significance since they help determine education and training needs. One important result of this paper, for example, is that a growing mismatch has been occurring between skill requirements of the workplace and educational attainment of the workforce, with the latter increasing much more rapidly than the former.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9810004.

in new window

Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 20 Oct 1998
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9810004
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 44; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9810004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.