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Technological inequality – understanding the relation between recent technological innovations and social inequalities

Project description

A closer look at how technology impacts inequality

Recent technological advancements are poised to reshape social inequalities, ushering in a new era where success in labour markets and society hinges on different skills than before. The TECHNEQUALITY project tackles the profound challenges presented by these changes, going beyond the traditional focus on job creation or destruction through automation. By examining the broader societal implications of technological developments, this groundbreaking research initiative aims to provide precise forecasts of labour market consequences, measure automation rates, explore the role of education and social welfare, and assess the impact on public finances. TECHNEQUALITY seeks to address the pressing question of how governments can effectively respond to these transformative forces while fostering equitable outcomes and fuelling policy debate at all levels.


Recent technological innovations may fundamentally change the size and nature of social inequalities. Success in labour markets and society will likely be driven by other skills than in the past, and traditional predictors of social mobility (e.g. class, credentials) are likely to be affected by these technological innovations. The empirical plausibility of potential implications is still ill-understood, and as a result it is unclear how governments can best respond to technological innovations. Most of the literature addresses the question of whether automation will create or destruct jobs. This project answers this question better, but also pushes beyond the research frontiers by focussing on the broader societal impact of technological developments. Our research will provide more precise forecasting of labour market consequences of technological innovations (WP1), explore new ways of measuring automation rates in European countries (WP1), explain how technological innovations are most likely to shape societal inequalities (WP2), study the role of various forms of education (WP3) and innovative forms of social welfare (WP4) in maximizing growth and reducing inequality, and assess the consequences of automation for public finances (WP5). We also assess whether and how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is different from earlier technological revolutions (WP6). TECHNEQUALITY will serve as a foundation for a better understanding of technologically driven social inequalities and a catalyst for new research. Innovative forecasting models on the impact of automation will enhance labour market macro-efficiency and equitable labour market outcomes. We will also set the agenda for policy debates on societal consequences of technological developments (WP7). Our findings will spawn concrete and actionable policy impacts for national governments, the EU, and the OECD.

Call for proposal


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Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 697 782,50
Minderbroedersberg 4
6200 MD Maastricht

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Zuid-Nederland Limburg (NL) Zuid-Limburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 46 229,26

Participants (8)