ERIC Number: ED435822
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Skill-Biased Technological Change. Evidence from a Firm-Level Survey.
Siegel, Donald S.
A study addressed the effects of technological change using a new, rich source of firm-level data on technology usage and labor force composition. The empirical investigation is based on a survey of Long Island manufacturers' usage of computer-integrated manufacturing systems (CIMS) or advanced manufacturing technologies (AMTs). The study also explored whether changes in human resource management policies that enhance employee empowerment arise in the aftermath of technological change. Some of the key findings of the study are the following: (1) technological change is associated with downsizing and a shift in labor composition in favor of workers with higher levels of education; (2) the probability of technology adoption is uncorrelated with the age of the firm but is positively associated with firm size, research and development intensity, and previous technology adoptions; (3) recomposition in favor of more highly educated workers appears to be most strongly associated with integrated AMTs; (4) new technologies lead to greater empowerment for workers, where empowerment is defined as training of existing personnel, changing job responsibilities, creating new jobs and career opportunities, and increasing the extent of employee control; and (5) two major obstacles to additional investment in new technology include difficulties in quantifying the benefits from technological investments and the high cost of customizing software to fit company needs. The survey questionnaire is appended. (Contains 16 tables, 139 references, an author index, and a subject index.) (KC)
Descriptors: Computer Assisted Manufacturing, Employment Patterns, Job Skills, Labor Force, Modernization, Skilled Workers, Technological Advancement, Technology Transfer
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 300 South Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 (hardback: ISBN-0-88099-198-4, $31; paperback: ISBN-0-88099-197-6, $11).
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Upjohn (W.E.) Inst. for Employment Research, Kalamazoo, MI.