Working Paper 4: Technological change and labour substitution: can firm characteristics shield workers against automation?

A burgeoning literature that has emerged examining the potential of technology to automate labour. Much of this work, however, has relied on expert opinions and is ‘de-contextualised’, with little use of data on firms’ actual behaviour. We employ a rich dataset of over 3,800 companies to explore whether certain firm characteristics (firms’ stock of skills, organizational structure, competitive strategies and m

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Looking for a shelter against automation? Your boss might be part of the answer

Manuel Souto-Otero  

There is a lot of discussion about robots taking our jobs. Much of it is speculative, usually forecasts based on the opinions of AI experts, who tend to be too enthusiastic about the potential of digital technologies. Such estimates take little account of job redesign possibilities, or social and economic barriers against auto

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There’s a lot at stake in the future of work: a reminder that technology is not destiny

Phillip Brown


All industrial revolutions are characterised by changes in the nature of work. This is not just a change in the types of jobs people do to earn a living – from farm labourer to factory worker to computer software engineer, etc. - but also changes in the role of work in society, or what Adam Smith called the divis

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