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Deskilling among Manufacturing Production Workers

David Kunst
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David Kunst: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

No 19-050/VI, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

Abstract: I use new occupational wage and employment data from more than 160 countries to document a global decline in the demand for skilled production workers in manufacturing since the 1950s. They tended to work in craftsman occupations, and their declining relative wages and employment have been associated with increasing capital intensities of production. My findings reconcile conflicting characterizations of technological change throughout the 20th century as either ‘skill biased’ or ‘deskilling’, and point to a globally decreasing number of manufacturing jobs in which workers with little formal education can acquire significant marketable skills.

Keywords: deskilling; technological change; polarization; manufacturing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J22 J31 N60 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-07-31, Revised 2020-12-30
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-lma and nep-ore
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