Table of Contents

Technology and the Future of European Employment

Technology and the Future of European Employment

Edited by Pascal Petit and Luc Soete

What is the potential of the new information and communication technologies? This book assesses the relationship between technological change and employment in all its dimensions, focusing on contemporary economies in Europe. The authors discuss patterns of growth, and the type of employment that countries might expect to be created following the introduction of these new technologies.


Pascal Petit and Luc Soete

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, labour economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy


Pascal Petit and Luc Soete 1. EMPLOYMENT IN EUROPE: THE FACTS AND THE DEBATES Over the last decades, technology has come to be regarded as a major force behind international competitiveness, growth and employment creation. At the same time it has also emerged as a central concern behind the rapid rise in unemployment in the late 1970s and 1980s and the persistence of such high unemployment rates in Europe. The rapid introduction of new technologies, spurred by Europe’s own integration process and the broader globalization process, has often been singled out as one of the main factors behind widespread employment displacement and job losses. At the aggregate level such employment displacement obviously becomes much more visible in periods of sluggish growth and recession; at the sectoral level it will often be concentrated in particular industries; at the individual job level it will affect some workers with particular routine skills much more than others. New technologies have also been held responsible for increased wage and income disparities and work insecurity more generally. No single country seems to have escaped these pressures, even though some have been much more successful in coping with them than others. Yet the concerns about the employment and distributional implications of contemporary technological change, as has been emphasized by many economists over the centuries, are not really based on any historical precedents. Concerns about so-called technological unemployment have a long track record, predating even the Industrial Revolution. In general terms, it could be argued that those predicting...