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Special Issue "The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marco Vivarelli

Director
Institute of Economic Policy, Catholic University, Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-02-72342921
Fax: +39-02-72342921
Interests: economics of innovation; entrepreneurship; globalization; applied microeconometrics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the notion of sustainable growth had to include the goal of avoiding the possible job losses and severe income inequalities brought about by the diffusion of the new technologies. In this context, this Special Issue will focus on the employment, skill/task and income impacts of current technological change, both in industrialized, emerging and developing countries.

In particular, nowadays, the massive implementation of ICT, artificial intelligence and robots has raised again a widespread fear of a new wave of “technological unemployment”. In this context, not only agricultural and manufacturing jobs appear at risk, but employees in services—including cognitive skills—are no longer safe. Finally, these recent trends have interlinked with the financial and economic crises and with the slow recovery afterwards, often showing a jobless nature.

This Special Issue welcomes full research articles—both theoretical and empirical—based on quantitative analysis, with a preference for mathematical modeling and robust and updated econometric analyses. The level of the analysis ranges from the macroeconomic, to the sectoral and the firm level.

Prof. Dr. Marco Vivarelli
Guest Editor


Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • Technological change;

  • R&D;

  • product and process innovation;

  • technological unemployment;

  • skill-biased technological change;

  • task-biased technological change

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Digital Labour in the Platform Economy: The Case of Facebook
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061757
Received: 4 March 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 27 May 2018
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Abstract
The aim of the paper is to analyse the features of the digital labour connected with the so-called platform economy. Many platform-based business models rely on a new composition of capital capable of capturing personal information and transforming it into big data. Starting
[...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to analyse the features of the digital labour connected with the so-called platform economy. Many platform-based business models rely on a new composition of capital capable of capturing personal information and transforming it into big data. Starting with the example of the Facebook business model, we explain the valorisation process at the core of platform capitalism, stressing the relevance of digital labour, to clarify the crucial distinction between labour and work. Our analysis differs from Fuchs and Sevignani’s thesis about digital work and digital labour and seems consistent with the idea that Facebook extracts a rent from the information produced by the free labour of its users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Automation on Employment: Just the Usual Structural Change?
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051661
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
We study the projected impact of automation on employment in the forthcoming decade, both at the macro-level and in actual (types of) sectors. Hereto, we unite an evolutionary economic model of multisectoral structural change with labor economic theory. We thus get a comprehensive
[...] Read more.
We study the projected impact of automation on employment in the forthcoming decade, both at the macro-level and in actual (types of) sectors. Hereto, we unite an evolutionary economic model of multisectoral structural change with labor economic theory. We thus get a comprehensive framework of how displacement of labor in sectors of application is compensated by intra- and intersectoral countervailing effects and notably mopped up by newly created, labor-intensive sectors. We use several reputable datasets with expert projections on employment in occupations affected by automation (and notably by the introduction of robotics and AI) to pinpoint which and how sectors and occupations face employment shifts. This reveals how potential job loss due to automation in “applying” sectors is counterbalanced by job creation in “making” sectors as well in complementary and quaternary, spillover sectors. Finally, we study several macro-level scenarios on employment and find that mankind is facing “the usual structural change” rather than the “end of work”. We provide recommendations on policy instruments that enhance the dynamic efficiency of structural change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle The Causal Effects of Trade and Technology Transfer on Human Capital and Economic Growth in the United Arab Emirates
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051535
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
This research empirically investigates the causality between trade, technology, human capital and economic growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the period 1980–2016. To investigate the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables, this study performs the Johansen cointegration test, while
[...] Read more.
This research empirically investigates the causality between trade, technology, human capital and economic growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the period 1980–2016. To investigate the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables, this study performs the Johansen cointegration test, while the direction of the short-run causality is examined by applying the Granger causality test in a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) framework. Moreover, a modified Wald test in an augmented Vector Autoregressive Model is applied in order to find the direction of the long-run causality. This research provides evidence to support a short-run bi-directional causality between primary imports and economic growth, while an indirect causality runs from manufactured imports and human capital to economic growth, through exports and primary imports. Empirical results do not provide evidence of either an Import-Led growth (ILG) or Export-Led Growth (ELG) hypothesis in the long-run, while no causality runs from primary imports, manufactured imports or exports to human capital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle Is Innovation Destroying Jobs? Firm-Level Evidence from the EU
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041279
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using a unique firm-level database comprising the top European R&D investors over the period 2002–2013 and running LSDVC estimates, this study finds a significant labor-friendly impact of R&D expenditures. However, this positive employment effect appears limited in magnitude and entirely due to the
[...] Read more.
Using a unique firm-level database comprising the top European R&D investors over the period 2002–2013 and running LSDVC estimates, this study finds a significant labor-friendly impact of R&D expenditures. However, this positive employment effect appears limited in magnitude and entirely due to the medium- and high-tech sectors, while no effect can be detected in the low-tech industries. From a policy point of view, this outcome supports the EU2020 strategy but—taking into account that most European economies are specialized in low-tech activities—is also worrying in terms of future perspectives of the European labor market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
Open AccessArticle Inward Greenfield FDI and Patterns of Job Polarization
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1219; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041219
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The unprecedented growth in foreign direct investment in the last few decades has caused drastic changes in the labor markets of the host countries. The major part of FDI takes place in low-tech industries, where the wages and skills are low, or in
[...] Read more.
The unprecedented growth in foreign direct investment in the last few decades has caused drastic changes in the labor markets of the host countries. The major part of FDI takes place in low-tech industries, where the wages and skills are low, or in high-tech, where they offer a wage premium for the highly skilled workers. This mechanism may increase the polarization of employment into high-wage and low-wage jobs, at the expense of middle-skill jobs. This paper looks at the effects of two types of FDI inflows, namely foreign investment in high-skill and low-skill activities, on job polarization. We match data on greenfield FDI aggregated by country and sector with data on employment by occupational skill to investigate the extent to which different types of greenfield FDI are responsible for skill polarization. Our results show that low-skill foreign investment shifts employment from high- to medium- and low-skill jobs, while skill-intensive FDI generally leads to skill upgrading. Only FDI in information and communication technology (ICT) is associated with job polarization, but only when accounting for the plurality of job polarization patterns across European sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle Identifying Factors Reinforcing Robotization: Interactive Forces of Employment, Working Hour and Wage
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020490
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Unlike previous studies on robotization approaching the future based on the cutting-edge technologies and adopting a framework where robotization is considered as an exogenous variable, this study considers that robotization occurs endogenously and uses it as a dependent variable for an objective examination
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Unlike previous studies on robotization approaching the future based on the cutting-edge technologies and adopting a framework where robotization is considered as an exogenous variable, this study considers that robotization occurs endogenously and uses it as a dependent variable for an objective examination of the effect of robotization on the labor market. To this end, a robotization indicator is created based on the actual number of industrial robots currently deployed in workplaces, and a multiple regression analysis is performed using the robotization indicator and labor variables such as employment, working hours, and wage. The results using the multiple regression considering the triangular relationship of employment–working-hours–wages show that job destruction due to robotization is not too remarkable yet that use. Our results show the complementary relation between employment and robotization, but the substituting relation between working hour and robotization. The results also demonstrate the effects of union, the size of the company and the proportion of production workers and simple labor workers etc. These findings indicate that the degree of robotization may vary with many factors of the labor market. Limitations of this study and implications for future research are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle Technology and Occupations in Business Cycles
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020463
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Building on studies on the impact of the Great Recession on the occupational and skill structure of employment, this article investigates developments over the last business cycle (2002–2007 and 2007–2011) in 36 manufacturing and service industries of five major European countries (Germany, France,
[...] Read more.
Building on studies on the impact of the Great Recession on the occupational and skill structure of employment, this article investigates developments over the last business cycle (2002–2007 and 2007–2011) in 36 manufacturing and service industries of five major European countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom). We analyse how technology, education and wages have shaped the evolution of four professional groups—Managers, Clerks, Craft and Manual workers—defined on the basis of ISCO classes. During the upswing in manufacturing industries all professional groups except managers have experienced job losses, while new jobs in services have followed a pattern of growing occupational polarization. Demand growth has a general positive effect across all occupations; new products lead to job creation in the group of managers only; wage increases slow down job creation except in the lowest occupational group. During the downswing, large job losses are concentrated in the lowest occupations and most relationships—including the role of demand and wages—break down; product innovation loses its positive impact on jobs while new processes drive restructuring and job destruction across all professional groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle Task Characteristics and Work Engagement: Exploring Effects of Role Ambiguity and ICT Presenteeism
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1855; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101855
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
In order to secure organizational sustainability in a rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to implement a decentralized and flexible work environment. In such work environments, normally individuals are provided with autonomy and independence in performing tasks, thus allowing them to further engage
[...] Read more.
In order to secure organizational sustainability in a rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to implement a decentralized and flexible work environment. In such work environments, normally individuals are provided with autonomy and independence in performing tasks, thus allowing them to further engage in their given work. This study investigated task antecedents of work engagement, and further explored the process of how task characteristics affect work engagement. It focused on examining the mediating effect of role ambiguity on the task characteristics-work engagement relationship and the moderating effect of information and communication technology (ICT) presenteeism on the task characteristics–role ambiguity relationship through multiple regression analyses and a bootstrapping procedure on survey data collected from 202 South Korean employees. It found that task interdependence and autonomy were negatively associated with role ambiguity. Of the two task characteristics, only task interdependence had a negative relationship with role ambiguity, and this relationship was significantly moderated by ICT presenteeism such that the negative association between task interdependence and role ambiguity was more pronounced when ICT presenteeism was high than when it was low. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessConcept Paper Assessment of the Technological Changes Impact on the Sustainability of State Security System of Ukraine
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041186
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 14 April 2018
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Abstract
Currently, the governments of many countries are facing with a lack of funds for financing programs for social protection of population. Among the causes of this problem, we can indicate the high unemployment rate, which, among other things, is due to implementation of
[...] Read more.
Currently, the governments of many countries are facing with a lack of funds for financing programs for social protection of population. Among the causes of this problem, we can indicate the high unemployment rate, which, among other things, is due to implementation of labor-saving technologies. The purpose of this work is to study the impact of technological changes on the sustainability of the state social security system in Ukraine. The general approaches to the assessment of the stability of the state social security system are described. The simulation of the effect of economically efficient technological changes on the company’s income and expenses was carried out. Some patterns of such changes are established. The group of productive technological changes types is presented. The model is developed, and an indicator of the impact estimation of efficiently effective technological changes on the stability of the state social security system is proposed. The analysis of the main indicators of the state social security system functioning of Ukraine is carried out. The dynamics of indicators characterizing the labor market of Ukraine is analyzed. The influence of changes in labor productivity on costs and profits by industries of Ukraine is estimated. The evaluation of the impact of economically efficient technological changes in the industries of Ukraine on the stability of its state social security system is carried out. The different state authorities can use the obtained results for developing measures to manage the sustainability of the state social security system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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