Jakob Molinder, Tobias Karlsson, Kerstin Enflo, 23 October 2019

History has shown that new technology can disrupt societies, and current developments in automation have raised anxious speculation on what might happen if stable middle-class jobs are taken over by machines. This column analyses the impact of technological change on labour markets and social protests, taking the case of the adoption of electricity in early 20th century Sweden. It finds that electrification did increase the incidence of local strikes, but that disputes were associated with workers demanding higher wages and better working conditions rather than attempting to block innovation.

David Blanchflower, Stephen Machin, 29 September 2014

Real wages continue to fall in the UK and elsewhere, yet despite this striking feature of the labour market, some commentators anticipate resurgent pay growth in the near future. This column argues that the absence of any improvement in the UK’s productivity performance – together with evidence that nominal wage growth is flatlining and real wage growth is falling – make it highly unlikely that wage growth is about to explode upwards.

Andreas Haufler, Ferdinand Mittermaier, 25 October 2011

If there is a thing that most policymakers are happy to receive, no matter where they are in the world, it is foreign direct investment. But how do you attract companies to your country if unionisation is pushing up wages? Surprisingly, countries with strong unions have been relatively successful. This column explains how.

Alison Felix, James Hines, 14 December 2009

Painful tax increases will be necessary to restore fiscal balance after exiting the crisis. This column shows that wages are higher in US states with lower corporate income taxes – a reminder that efforts to tax firms more heavily create burdens that will be distributed among stakeholders, including many groups that governments otherwise attempt to help, such as workers.

Events

CEPR Policy Research