New Technologies and Employment in the 1980s: From Science and Technology to Macroeconomic Modelling
The link between machinery (now called technical progress) and employment has always been a major topic in political economy, as well as modern economic analysis. Nevertheless during the 1960s, most economists — especially macroeconomists — used to regard technical progress trends as exogenously given to the economy, and neutral with respect to employment. This feature was roughly in correspondence with what was observed during this period. Since the 1970s the panorama has drastically changed: new technologies and their effects upon employment levels and structure have become a major concern for economists, in such a way that old debates are again relevant. As always, the optimists emphasise the long-run positive influences of technical change upon employment, whereas pessimists point to the large reduction in industrial employment produced by the application of labour saving innovations. In some cases, the present mass unemployment is directly related to the introduction of new technologies.
KeywordsEurope Transportation Income Marketing Assimilation
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