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We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low-skill workers

Manning, Alan ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3580 (2004) We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low-skill workers. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 51 (5). 581 - 608. ISSN 0036-9292

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.0036-9292.2004.00322.x


There is little doubt that technology has had the most profound effect on altering the tasks that we humans do in our jobs. Economists have long speculated on how technical change affects both the absolute demand for labour as a whole and the relative demands for different types of labour. In recent years, the idea of skill-biased technical change has become the consensus view about the current impact of technology on labour demand, namely that technical change leads to an increase in the demand for skilled relative to unskilled labour painting a bleak future for the employment prospects of less-skilled workers. But, drawing on a recent paper by Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003) about the impact of technology on the demand for different types of skills, this paper argues that the demand in the least-skilled jobs may be growing. But, it is argued that employment of the less-skilled is increasingly dependent on physical proximity to the more-skilled and may also be vulnerable in the long-run to further technological developments.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 Scottish Economic Society
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2008 09:24
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 00:09

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