ICT, Labour and Inequality

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  • Katz (2000)
  • Week 3 Session 5
  • "Technological change, computerization, and the wage structure"
  • Topel (1997)
  • Week 4 Session 7
  • "Factor proportions and relative wages: the supply-side determinants of wage inequality"
  • Johnson (1997)
  • Week 4 Session 7
  • "Changes in earnings inequality: the role of demand shifts"
  • Acemoglu (2002)
  • Week 4 Session 8
  • "Technical change, inequality, and the labour market" Sections 1-4
  • Leuven, Oosterbeek, and Van Ophen (2004)
  • Week 5 Session 9
  • "Explaining international differences in male skill wage differentials by differences in demand and supply of skill"
  • Levy and Murnane (2013)
  • Week 5 Session 10
  • Dancing with robots: human skills for computorized work
  • Acemoglu and Restrepo (2019)
  • Week 6 Session 11
  • "Automation and new tasks: how technology displaces and reinstates labour"
  • Chang and al. (2019)
  • Week 6 Session 11
  • "The rise of robots in China"
  • Jerbashian (2019)
  • Week 6 Session 12
  • "Automation and job polarization: on the decline of middling occupations in Europe"
  • Autor (2015)
  • Week 7 Session 13
  • "Why are there still so many jobs? The history and future of workplace automation"
  • Goos (2018)
  • Week 7 Session 13
  • "The impact of technological progess on labour markets: policy challenges"
Extra materials

What can we learn more?


Gender wage inequality (1)

"Employer secrecy around staff pay is fuelling gender pay gap, says expert"

Melissa Davey (Nov. 2019)

From 2017 to 2018, there was a drop in the gender pay gap. This gap can be explained by the lack of transparency around salaries. Companies have to investigate their gender wage gap but even if they do so, usually no actions are taken. The occupations that experienced the largest decrease were community and personal services. Even if there was a drop in the gender pay gap, this could also be due to periode of wage stagnation. The article points out that there was no change in the share of female CEOs.


Gender wage inequality (2)

"#EQUALPAYDAY: what to do if you're being paid less than your male colleagues?"

Sophie Gallagher (Nov. 2019)

The article explains the steps to take if a woman is being paid unequally compared to a man colleague. The woman has to identify a male comparator and explain to her employer why she is doing an equal job as her male colleague. She should also ask if they are any reasons that she is not aware of which may explain this difference in wages. If it fails, having taken these steps will help if she decides to take her case to the employment tribunal. A woman can also see for independent legal advice.


Gender wage inequality (3)

"Swedes can find out each other's salaries with just one phone call - but there's a catch"

Chris Weller (April 2017)

In Sweden, it is possible to request the wage of people by simply calling. However, the person asking is not treated anonymously. The practice exists in Sweden because transparency and trust are important values in the country. Transparency is a norm in Sweden because even politicians have to provide their earnings. Moreover, if a gender pay gap is discovered within a company ant no efforts are made to close it, the company will be exposed to a fine.


Gender wage inequality (4)

"Google finds it's underpaying many men as it addresses wage equity"

Daisuke Wakabayashi

(March 2019)

Google had a surprising result when investigating the gender pay gap. Indeed, the company found out that men were paid less than women for similar work. Eventually, Google increased men wages. The reason behind this finding is the pressure put on gender issues. Furthermore, Google has already been suited by women that claimed to be paid unequally. However, the study is not showing if women were hired at lower wages than men.


ICT and wage inequality (1)

"Is technological innovation making society more unequal?"

Wim Nodé & Paula Nagier (Dec. 2016)

Society is more unequal today than before because of the 2008 global financial crisis. The political situations in some countries and the soaring of nationalism are all outcomes of inequality. Does ICT need to be blamed? Will humans be replaced by robots? For now, robots did replace some jobs performed by humans before. ICT caused job polarization because only the demand for middle-skilled workers decreased, leading to a wage gap. However, it is not possible to say that the increase in inequality is solely due to technology. Furthermore, countries where the adoption of robots is advanced have less inequality.


ICT and wage inequality (2)

"How tech policy can mitigate income inquality?"

Bauer & Washington Bytes (Feb. 2017)

Policies need to implement regulations concerning technlogies because it can have positive (that need to be supported) as well as negative aspects (that need to be controlled). ICT increases productivity while eliminating jobs, it expoes workers to international mobility increasing the competition, and can reduce the demand for labour. Thus, it contributes to skill-biased technological change. It is also clear that more technologies enter households, and that this intrusion is more present in urban areas. This increase in connectivity has resulted in new challenges that policies has to deal with.


ICT and wage inequality (3)

"How technology could help fight against income inequality"

Tyler Cowen (Dec. 2014)

The question of whether market forces can counter the trend of wage inequality needs to be explore more deeply. ICT indeed contribute to wage inequality however it could reduce it by for example allowing computers to perform more tasks at a more competitive price such as health care. Moreover, the inequallity for using computers might disapear over time and an increasing number of the population, all skills counfounding, will be able to use them. ICT can also creat new type of labour where a human and a robot work together. The innovations from emerging economies may benefit low skills workers so it can counter inequallity.


A bit about myself

          I am Eva and I am from France. In this part, I want to explain the reasons behind my choices concerning the additional articles. By the way, I hope that you can read my comments on them and express yourself concerning their relevance or not. Thank you!

I chose two broad topics for my articles because I find interesting to look at several facets of the same problem. Thus, the articles are linked with each other within the same topic and their different points of views help to trigger critical thinking. However, my comments reflect my way of thinking linked to everything that I have read, experienced, heard so far. As a consequence, you might disagree and feel free to express it. Besides, I did not want to discuss every point that the articles discussed but rather only a few of them that make me think about new things to explore and share it with you.

Firstly, I wanted to include articles dealing with gender inequality. Indeed, even though everyone is aware of this kind of inequality, I wanted to stress it out here as well, and explain my personal view about it in the comments attached to them. As a woman rose in the Western world, I never felt diminished because of my gender. I still feel that I can do whatever I want even though there are indeed differences between men and women. You have to keep in mind that differences are not negative, yet the contrary. It is not a synonym of inequality. What I want to express here is that even if I do not feel any less than a man, there are in reality inequalities between genders. Even in the Westen world. That is why I wanted to show with the article talking about Sweden. It is not an old article but yet Swedish needed to take measures to favorize wage equity. Moreover, I also want to add that as a woman, you do not need to always feel persecuted. You need to think about all the determinants that set wages (education, experience, skills, etc.) before claiming that the salary difference only comes because of the gender difference.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about ICT and its impact on wage inequality. There are a lot of threats around it such as that robots will take humans' job and I wanted to see a broad picture of the pros and cons regarding this claim. Moreover, I wanted to see which extend ICT could help with wage inequality. Indeed, it is impossible and even a bad idea to stop technology advances, but maybe what can be a good idea is to use these advances to counter inequalities in the labour market. Nonetheless, it is not because we do not wish to stop technological progress that we should not try to regulate it. Ethical issues, for instance, can come with the implementation of some technologies and therefore policies need to regulate it.