The Shape of the Division of Labour
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The Shape of the Division of Labour

Nations, Industries and Households

Edited by Robert M. Solow and Jean-Philippe Touffut

How is work divided up in the household, within an industry, a nation or between continents? What are the dynamics of the division of labour? The wide-ranging contributions to this book explore these questions from technological, capital and political perspectives. They include in-depth studies of gender, the firm, countries’ economic specializations, ICTs, foreign direct investment and agriculture. In this book, ten distinguished contributors – economists, scholars and practitioners – take stock of the shape of the division of labour and provide useful policy recommendations.
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Chapter 7: Round Table Discussions: How Do Nations Adapt to Changes in the Division of Labour?

Bina Agarwal, Martin Baily, Jean-Louis Beffa and Robert M. Solow


7. Round table discussion: how do nations adapt to changes in the division of labour? Bina Agarwal, Martin Baily, Jean-Louis Beffa and Robert M. Solow Robert M. Solow (MIT) You have, here, three strong characters and one mouse – so it is very hard to know what will occur! A very complicated bargaining procedure originated by John Nash in 1950-something helped us decide that the first speaker would be Martin Baily, who is now at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, after a long and distinguished career including a term as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the United States, and a period during which he and I worked together over a series of interesting studies of economic performance and productivity. But I knew him as a very young man writing, as part of his PhD thesis, what I think may have been the first, and was certainly one of the fundamental, papers of what became the theory of implicit contracts. The second speaker will be Jean-Louis Beffa, who is currently honorary chairman of the board of the Saint-Gobain Corporation and was until recently also Chief Executive Officer; he is also the co-chairman and really the ‘idea person’ behind the Cournot Centre. The last speaker will be Bina Agarwal, who is Professor at the Institute of Economic Growth at the University of Delhi – and I do know what she is going to talk about, which is the new world division of labour in agriculture – a subject that has been...

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