Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The impact of new technologies on the labour market and the social economy

Dachs, Bernhard (2017): The impact of new technologies on the labour market and the social economy.

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Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between innovation, new technologies, employment and inequality. Today, there is an intense discussion on these topics, in particular on the employment effects of new information and communication technologies.

Based on the existing literature and experience from previous technological revolutions, the study strikes an optimistic note about the future. It argues that innovation is labour-friendly: it destroys, but also creates employment. In previous times, the race between job creation through product innovation and job destruction through process innovation has been won by the job-creating effects of innovation.

As a result, the author does not expect that digitalisation will lead to mass unemployment. However, in his view, the costs of digitalisation are unevenly distributed due to the skill-biased nature of technological change. Low-skilled workers, who face a higher risk of job displacement, are therefore particularly likely to bear much larger costs than others. Another group at risk are those whose occupations involve a high share of routine tasks, which is particularly the case in the service industries. The study concludes that the challenge of the future lies in coping with rising inequality as a result of technological change.

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