This essay offers an empirical analysis of the effects of technical change on skill. Firstly, with the increasing diffusion of more and more mechanization and, in this decade, with the advent of microelectronics, this theme has been widely debated both in theory and in empirical analyses. These latter are usually based on a measurement of skill in terms of the parameters adopted in the job evaluation. My critique to that approach is both on the job evaluation criteria adopted, and on the unclear distinction between quantitative and qualitative effects of technical change on labour requirements. The following analysis will show the importance of that distinction in interpreting data. The case study is the production of ceramic tiles in Italy. The analysis is articulated in three parts. The first discusses an indicator of technical level of ceramic tile production. This indicator refers to the ‘scale of mechanization’ proposed by Bright in 1958. The oldest and the most up-to-date techniques in use in the early 1980's are compared with regard both to the level of mechanization and to the number of workers required at each task at factory level. This analysis is the premiss for the distinction between quantitative and qualitative effects of technical change. This—together with the discussion of a measurement of skill based on job content—is examined in the second part. The conclusion of the case study and a critical analysis of the main contributions on this topic are in the third part.

The effects of technical change on skill requirements / Russo, Margherita. - In: LABOUR. - ISSN 1121-7081. - STAMPA. - 1:(1991), pp. 45-74.

The effects of technical change on skill requirements

Russo, Margherita
Conceptualization
1991

Abstract

This essay offers an empirical analysis of the effects of technical change on skill. Firstly, with the increasing diffusion of more and more mechanization and, in this decade, with the advent of microelectronics, this theme has been widely debated both in theory and in empirical analyses. These latter are usually based on a measurement of skill in terms of the parameters adopted in the job evaluation. My critique to that approach is both on the job evaluation criteria adopted, and on the unclear distinction between quantitative and qualitative effects of technical change on labour requirements. The following analysis will show the importance of that distinction in interpreting data. The case study is the production of ceramic tiles in Italy. The analysis is articulated in three parts. The first discusses an indicator of technical level of ceramic tile production. This indicator refers to the ‘scale of mechanization’ proposed by Bright in 1958. The oldest and the most up-to-date techniques in use in the early 1980's are compared with regard both to the level of mechanization and to the number of workers required at each task at factory level. This analysis is the premiss for the distinction between quantitative and qualitative effects of technical change. This—together with the discussion of a measurement of skill based on job content—is examined in the second part. The conclusion of the case study and a critical analysis of the main contributions on this topic are in the third part.
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The effects of technical change on skill requirements / Russo, Margherita. - In: LABOUR. - ISSN 1121-7081. - STAMPA. - 1:(1991), pp. 45-74.
Russo, Margherita
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/458096
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