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  • Machines, jobs and equality Technological change and labour markets in Europe

    Edited by Andreas Bergström and Karl Wennberg

  • Andreas Bergström is Deputy Director at the green and liberal think tank Fores (Forum for Reforms, Entrepreneurship and Sus- tainability) and head of Fores’ programme for economic reforms and entrepreneurship. He formerly worked as Political Adviser for several liberal ministers, and now leads research projects on automatisation, entrepreneurship and employment.

    Anna Breman is Group Chief Economist at Swedbank since 2015, while also serving as independent expert in the government anal- ysis group “The future of Work,” holding a Ph.D in Economics from Stockholm School of Economics. She previously worked as deputy director at the Swedish Ministry of Finance, and as a re- searcher in the US.

    Fernando del Río is Assistant Professor of Economics at the Uni- versidade de Santiago de Compostela, holding a Ph.D. in Econom- ics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. His areas of research are economic growth and labour economics.

    Eduardo L. Giménez is Assistant Professor of Economics at the Universidade de Vigo, with a Ph.D. in Economics from Universi- dad Carlos III de Madrid. His areas of research are, among others, general equilibrium theory and its applications to real business cycles, financial economics and monetary theory.

    Georg Graetz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Eco- nomics at Uppsala University, research affiliate at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and associate at the Centre for Eco- nomic Performance in London. His research focuses on techno- logical change, wage inequality, and the economics of education.

    Claire Ingram is a PhD Candidate at the Stockholm School of Eco- nomics in Stockholm, Sweden. She conducts research into the im- pact of increased reliance on digital artefacts, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship and the world of work.

    Darja Isaksson is an entrepreneur and advisor within consum- er experience design, innovation strategy and data analytics. She was awarded ‘Most influential opinion maker of the year’ in 2016 by Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer, and is currently a member of the Swedish Prime Minister’s innovation council.

  • Machines, jobs and equality Andreas Bergström and Karl Wennberg (editors)

    First edition, first print Printed by Fridholm & Partners, Hindås, Sweden, 2016

    ISBN: 978-91-87379-36-9

    Published by the European Liberal Forum asbl with the support of the Bertil Ohlin Institute and Fores. Funded by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not responsible for the content of the publication. The views expressed are those of the authors alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Liberal Forum asbl.

    Design by Studio Annalog

    © 2016 The European Liberal Forum (ELF). This publication can be downloaded for free on www.liberalforum.eu or www.fores.se. We use Creative Commons, meaning that it is allowed to copy and distribute the content for a non-profit purpose if the author and the European Liberal Forum are mentioned as copyrights owners. (Read more about creative commons here http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc- nd/4.0/ )

    The European Liberal Forum (ELF) is the foundation of the European Liberal Democrats, the ALDE Party. A core aspect of our work consists in issuing publications on Liberalism and European public policy issues. We also provide a space for the discussion of European politics, and offer training for liberal-minded citizens. Our aim is to promote active citizenship in all of this. Our foundation is made up of a number of European think tanks, political foundations and institutes. The diversity of our membership provides us with a wealth of knowledge and is a constant source of innovation. In turn, we provide our members with the opportunity to cooper- ate on European projects under the ELF umbrella. We work throughout Europe as well as in the EU Neighbourhood countries. The youthful and dynamic nature of ELF allows us to be at the forefront in promoting active citizenship, getting the citizen involved with European issues and building an open, Liberal Europe.

    Bertil Ohlininstitutet is a Swedish think tank, founded in 1993 with the purpose to initiate research and debate in critical areas of public policy in the tradition of liberal thinking. The institute is namned after Bertil Ohlin, who was leader of the Liberal party of Sweden (Folkpar- tiet) between 1944 and 1967. By building networks of scholars, participants in the public debate and persons from private and public working life the institute – as a think tank – contributes to broadening the basis for liberal opinion formation and renewal of liberal thinking.

    Fores is a green and liberal think tank. We are a foundation and non-profit NGO and we want to renew the debate in Sweden with a belief in entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for people to shape their own lives. Market-based solutions to climate change and other environ- mental challenges, the long-term benefits of migration and a welcoming society, the gains of increased levels of entrepreneurship, the need for a modernization of the welfare sector and the challenges of the rapidly changing digital society – these are some of the issues we focus on. We act as a link between curious citizens, opinion makers, entrepreneurs, policymakers and Z

  • Index

    7 Introduction Andreas Bergström and Karl Wennberg

    13 The maid, the clerk, the doctor & their computers Fernando del Río and Eduardo L. Giménez

    51 The impact of technological change on the labour market Georg Graetz

    65 Digitalisation and collective value creation Darja Isaksson and Karl Wennberg

    87 Diginomics and the productivity puzzle Anna Breman

    105 How may robots affect the labour market in the near future?

    Fredrik Löfgren

    135 Building blockchains: In search of a distributed ledger ‘standard’? Claire Ingram, Jacob Lindberg and Robin Teigland

    167 The intelligence explosion revisited Karim Jebari and Joakim Lundborg

  • 7

    Introduction

    Introduction

    The past few years have witnessed an intense debate regarding tech- nological change and its effects on labour markets. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s celebrated book “The Second Machine Age” and a host of related papers and books discuss how technological change re- lated to computers and robots affects companies, labour markets, the distribution of wealth and entrepreneurship. While much of this work has been US-centric, European academics, policymakers and compa- nies are increasingly discussing how the same issues affect Europe- an economies. Understanding these changes is a vital prerequisite to sound policy formation in the face of the societal challenges brought about by such rapid change, regardless of whether one adheres to the positive or negative scenarios outlined.

    In an earlier book, “Inclusive Growth in Europe” (2014), we dis- cussed the role of technological change in the rise of self-employment and ‘precarious’ work arrangements in Europe. In this book, we de- scribe a number of important sources of technological change, such as information and computer technologies, accelerated robotisation, artificial intelligence, and the advent of new modes of payments, such as cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin). These are important and inter-related trends, fuelled by the rapid advancement in digital technologies and decreasing cost of computing power. The seven chapters in this volume

  • Andreas Bergström and Karl Wennberg

    8

    discuss the nature and significance of recent technological change, and the impact on European companies and labour markets. The first half of the book discusses the implications from a macro perspective, while the second half looks at the technologies.

    Chapter one - The maid, the clerk, the doctor and their computers - by Fernando del Río and Eduardo Giménez, provides a review of recent research regarding technological change and labour markets, with a particular emphasis on Europe. Del Río and Giménez discuss research showing how information and communication technologies have ena- bled the automation and offshoring of many routine tasks. While this has contributed to increased earnings for high-skilled workers, it has also led to increasing job polarisation in the labour markets of most developed countries. This polarisation, the authors argue, poses new challenges to all democratic societies, as evidenced by segments of the population increasingly calling for populist political solutions in the face of economic decline. In their conclusions, the authors highlight in- come redistribution, improving educational systems and job training as ways of meeting these challenges.

    The second chapter by Georg Graetz - The impact of technological change on the labour market - discusses the implications of recent tech- nological change for economic development. Graetz - a leading labour market researcher - summarises research on how information tech- nology has contributed to overall productivity growth and led to well- known changes in labour market demand for various skills and tasks. He also discusses what these developments could mean in the future. Specifically, he argues governments need to ensure the education sys- tem is responsive to the changing demands placed on workers, given the skills acquired in their youth may be outdated before they reach re- tirement age. Graetz shows that

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