Essays on the Implications of Technology Change for Skill Demand and the Nature of Work
Technological change leads employers to transform their demand for workforce skills, with dramatic consequences for the distribution of economic prosperity and the future of work. However, different technologies can place different and even opposing pressures on skill demand and organizational structure: they may drive increased or decreased division of labor or make workers of different skill levels more or less competitive with machines. To understand and respond to these changes, the objective of the research in this dissertation is to develop and explore frameworks for thinking about technological change in relation to labor and organizations. This dissertation seeks to address four questions of interest (in each of four corresponding chapters) for our understanding of technology change, labor outcomes and opportunities for policy and strategy. 1) What are the implications of two simultaneous technological changes (automation, parts consolidation) for labor skill demand within an occupation? 2) Why and how do technological changes differ in their effects on skill demand? 3) How are the effects of technology change modified when applied to tasks of different types? 4) How might organizational structure and technical uncertainty provide different opportunities for worker participation in new technology development and implementation?
DepartmentEngineering and Public Policy
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)