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Implications of Information Technology for Employment, Skills, and Wages: Findings from Sectoral and Case Study Research

Michael J., Handel (2004): Implications of Information Technology for Employment, Skills, and Wages: Findings from Sectoral and Case Study Research.

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Abstract

This paper reviews evidence from industry-specific and case studies that shed light on the extent to which computers and automation eliminate jobs, raise job skill requirements, and, consequently, contribute to increased wage inequality between less- and more skilled workers. This paper complements a previous review of large-scale econometric studies on the same subject, Michael J. Handel, "Implications of Information Technology for Employment, Skills, and Wages: A Review of Recent Research." This paper examines the implications for work and employment of different kinds of manufacturing automation (NC/CNC machine tools, robotics, automated process control) and white-collar computer technologies (data entry, data processing, ATMs, CAD). The sectoral and case study evidence suggests technological change works mostly in the direction of skill upgrading but that the effects on employment levels, occupational composition, skill requirements within jobs, and wages are considerably more modest than theories of skill-biased technological change suggest.

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