Rui Luo, 14 May 2017

While the impact of modern technological change on the skill premium has been well explained, there has been no study of the evolution of the skill premium over the very long run. This column reveals that the skill premium in Western Europe declined between 1300 and 1600, and converged to a low and stable level afterwards. Growth and technological change, while stimulating economic development and the transition from a pre-modern era to modern era, reduced wage inequality between different working groups.

Enrique Fernández-Macías, Martina Bisello, 25 September 2016

A tasks approach to labour market analysis can contribute to a better understanding of structural change and employment trends. However, its narrow focus on a few specific types of task content and its neglect of the social aspects of production can limit the usefulness of this approach. This column presents a new framework for conceptualising and measuring tasks, and discusses an application to Europe.

Carl Benedikt Frey, Ebrahim Rahbari, 25 March 2016

Back in the 1960s, many thought that the computer and automation would herald less work and more leisure, but the debate has changed. These days, economists debate the extent to which jobs will be lost due to technological innovation. This column explores whether technology is becoming more labour-saving and less job-creating. Concerns over automation causing mass unemployment seem exaggerated, at least for now. 

Avner Offer, 19 September 2014

Victory in World War I relied on three types of energy: renewable energy for food and fodder, fossil energy, and high explosive. This column argues that the Allies had a clear advantage in manpower, coal, and agriculture, but not enough for a quick decision. Mobilisation in continental economies curtailed food production, occasionally to a critical level. Technical competition was a matter of capacity for innovation, not of particular breakthroughs. Coercive military service and rationing of scarce energy and food had egalitarian consequences that continued after the war.

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, Homi Kharas, 12 December 2011

Policymakers in both developed and developing countries now see services as the source of jobs and growth. This column argues that modern services sophistication now surpasses that of the manufacturing sector and explores the reasons why.

Claudia Goldin, Lawrence Katz, 09 June 2009

US educational attainment growth has substantially slowed since the 1970s. This column explains how the educational slowdown caused much of the recent rise in economic inequality and concludes that the futures of inequality and the US depend on increasing the supply of highly educated workers.

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