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Title: Technology and employment : tasks, capabilities, and tastes
Author: Susskind, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 6214
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the consequences of 'increasingly capable machines' on earnings and employment. A new literature, the task-based approach, has been developed for this purpose. And this literature presents an optimistic account of the prospects for labour in the 21st century. The central claim in this literature is that "people tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for labour and ignore the complementarities". This thesis challenges this optimism. I argue that such optimism is based on two assumptions, neither of which is justified. The first is that the supply-side analysis in this literature is based on outdated reasoning about how these machines operate. The result is that the models arbitrarily constrain what machines are capable of doing. The second is that the demand-side analysis in this literature is either altogether missing, or is carried out in a way that is constrained by the arbitrary supply-side assumption. In this thesis I build a new range of task-based models that are based on more justifiable assumptions. The first set of models show that updated reasoning about how machines operate leads to a pessimistic account of the prospects for labour. The second set of models show that the demand-side has an important role in either strengthening, or weakening, this pessimism that is reached when the supply-side is looked at in isolation. This analysis leads to the identification of an important new 'race' in the labour market.
Supervisor: Vines, David Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Employees--Effect of automation on ; Technology--Economic aspects