Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CBTC (The Resurgence in Wage Inequality and Technological Change: A New Approach)
Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31
In this ERC project I advance an original theory on the complex dynamics between technology and politics in order to solve two unsettled questions regarding the role of computerization in rising wage inequality: First, how can computerization, which diffused simultaneously in rich countries, explain the divergent inequality trends in Europe and the United States? Second, what are the mechanisms behind the well-known observed positive correlation between computers and earnings?
The main objectives of this project are, therefore, to:
1) Theorize the delayed rise in wage inequality in Europe and the sharp rise in the United States, underlining the interaction between computers and class politics in producing the observed trends.
2) Develop a new structural conceptualization of the mechanisms behind the positive correlation between computerization and earnings, while emphasizing how the process of computerization transformed the politics of the production process in a way that increased the bargaining power of experts and managers and hence their relative earnings.
3) Pose an original approach to measuring computerization that captures the form of workers’ interaction with computers at work, making it possible to empirically test the two theses.
4) Form a research strategy for analysing the effect of computerization on the wage structure across countries and workplaces, and over time.
This research project challenges the common understanding of technology’s role in producing economic inequality, and would thereby significantly impact all of the abovementioned disciplines, which are debating over the upswing in wage inequality, as well as public policy, which discusses what should be done to confront the resurgence of income inequality.