Advanced

Off the Waterfront: The long-run impact of technological change on dock workers

El-Sahli, Zouheir LU and Upward, Richard (2015) In Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University
Abstract
We investigate how individual workers and local labour markets adjust over a long time period to a discrete and plausibly exogenous technological shock, namely the introduction of containerisation in the UK port industry. This technology, which was introduced rapidly between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, had dramatic consequences for specific occupations within the port industry. Using longitudinal micro-census data we follow dock-workers over a 40 year period and examine the long-run consequences of containerisation for patterns of employment, migration and mortality. The results show that the job guarantees protected dock-workers’ employment until their removal in 1989. A matched comparison of workers in com- parable unskilled... (More)
We investigate how individual workers and local labour markets adjust over a long time period to a discrete and plausibly exogenous technological shock, namely the introduction of containerisation in the UK port industry. This technology, which was introduced rapidly between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, had dramatic consequences for specific occupations within the port industry. Using longitudinal micro-census data we follow dock-workers over a 40 year period and examine the long-run consequences of containerisation for patterns of employment, migration and mortality. The results show that the job guarantees protected dock-workers’ employment until their removal in 1989. A matched comparison of workers in com- parable unskilled occupations reveals that, even after job guarantees were removed, dock-workers did not fare worse than the comparison group in terms of their labour market outcomes. Our results suggest that job guarantees may significantly reduce the cost to workers of sudden technological change, albeit at a significant cost to the industry. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
dock workers, containerization, labor markets, technological change
in
Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University
issue
11
pages
43 pages
publisher
Department of Economics, Lund Universtiy
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
58b87135-f5df-441c-a7a1-c7b5e2f9c10a (old id 5275126)
alternative location
http://swopec.hhs.se/lunewp/abs/lunewp2015_011.htm
date added to LUP
2015-04-17 13:46:02
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:24:01
@misc{58b87135-f5df-441c-a7a1-c7b5e2f9c10a,
  abstract     = {We investigate how individual workers and local labour markets adjust over a long time period to a discrete and plausibly exogenous technological shock, namely the introduction of containerisation in the UK port industry. This technology, which was introduced rapidly between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, had dramatic consequences for specific occupations within the port industry. Using longitudinal micro-census data we follow dock-workers over a 40 year period and examine the long-run consequences of containerisation for patterns of employment, migration and mortality. The results show that the job guarantees protected dock-workers’ employment until their removal in 1989. A matched comparison of workers in com- parable unskilled occupations reveals that, even after job guarantees were removed, dock-workers did not fare worse than the comparison group in terms of their labour market outcomes. Our results suggest that job guarantees may significantly reduce the cost to workers of sudden technological change, albeit at a significant cost to the industry.},
  author       = {El-Sahli, Zouheir and Upward, Richard},
  keyword      = {dock workers,containerization,labor markets,technological change},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {43},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x87b35f0)},
  series       = {Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University},
  title        = {Off the Waterfront: The long-run impact of technological change on dock workers},
  year         = {2015},
}