Is Industrial Innovation Destroying Jobs?

One of the principal motivations for the establishment of an industrial policy in the United States is to counteract or facilitate structural change in the economy, especially in labor markets. It is alleged that our basic manufacturing sector is in a state of semi permanent decline.' It is further alleged that the number of high-technology jobs is not growing fast enough to absorb those being laid off in the heavy manufacturing sector. The result, therefore, will be rising unemployment and declining standards of living for many Americans. This is a pretty dismal scenario and, if it were true, might provide some rationale for the establishment of an industrial policy or some other government economic planning mechanism. I believe, however, that such fears about the future can be dispelled on both theoretical and empirical grounds. The first part of this paper will examine the theory of technological unemployment and survey the literature on this subject. The second part will look at some of the data.

  • Authors: Bruce Bartlett
  • Year: 1984
  • Organisation: Cato Institute
  • Publisher: Cato Institute
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