Embedding skill bias: Technological change, labour market institutions, and the skill bias in wages and benefits

Hybrid event

What are the distributional consequences of the transition to the knowledge economy? This talk, based on joint work with Sebastian Diessner (Leiden) and David Hope (King’s College London), argues that a productive way to answer this question is by focussing on how industrial relations institutions mediate the relationship between skills and technology. It is argued that business seek to concentrate wages and non-wage benefits on university-educated workers, whose skills are complementary to technology, in the attempt to recruit and retain those workers who are increasingly strategic in the knowledge economy. However, the extent to which business is able to selectively reward particular groups of workers depends on the level of discretion that industrial relations institutions grant them. Two pieces of empirical analyses – focussing respectively on inequality in wages and in access to company-sponsored benefits – provides support to the proposed theoretical framework and contributes to explaining stark cross-country distributional differences in the knowledge economy.


This seminar is part of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention Trinity Term Seminar Series.
Booking required for people outside of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention (DSPI). DSPI Members do not need to register.