Wolff on skill

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Mon Oct 26 07:25:28 PST 1998

Tom In this paper Edward Wolff seems to reach a conclusion different to that attributed to him by Chris and Charles Tilly in Work Under Capitalism:

"Repetitive jobs are automated out of existence, while new, broad jobs are born. David Howell and Edward Wolff's (1991) careful study of changes in the skill composition of the US workforce between 1960 and 1985) finds that overall, the mix of jobs shifted in the direction of *increasing* cognitive and interactive skills." p. 159

Tom, how does this square with the report you are recommending?

best, rakesh

> \\
> Paper: ewp-mac/9810004
> URL: http://econwpa.wustl.edu/eprints/mac/papers/9810/9810004.abs
> From: kuchi at levy.org
> Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 09:41:59 -0500
> Title: Technology and the Demand for Skills
> Author: A. Edward N. Wolff (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)
> Contact: kuchi at levy.org
> Comments: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print
> on PostScript; pages: 44; figures: included
> Keywords:
> JEL:
> EWPA-references:
> Report-no: WP 153
> \\
> The U.S. economy has undergone major structural changes since 1950.
> First, there has been a gradual shift of employment from goods-producing
> industries to service-providing industries. Second, since the 1970s at
> least, the availability of new information-based technologies has made
> possible substantial adjustments in operations and organizational re-
> structuring of firms. This has been accelerated, in part, by sharply
> increasing competition from imports. Evidence from industry level case
> studies indicate that this restructuring is likely to have important
> consequences for the level and composition of skills required in the
> U.S. workplace (see Adler, 1986, and Zuboff, 1988).
> The direction and extent of changes in skill levels over the longer run
> has, however, been more uncertain, with case studies often finding a
> deskilling of the content of production jobs and aggregate studies
> finding little change or at most a gradual upgrading in overall
> occupation mix (see Spenner, 1988, for a survey of this literature).
> These trends have considerable policy significance since they help
> determine education and training needs. One important result of this
> paper, for example, is that a growing mismatch has been occurring
> between skill requirements of the workplace and educational attainment
> of the workforce, with the latter increasing much more rapidly than the
> former.
> \\ (ewp-mac/9810004 , 0kb + 1555kb)

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