The Institute of Economics will hold a seminar meeting as part of its Seminar Series on Tuesday, December 19, 2023: Jacob Weisdorf from Sapienza University of Rome will present the paper “The effect of mechanisation on labour: evidence from the diffusion of steam power".
We use the two earliest industrial censuses from 19th-century France to investigate the impact on industrial labour of one of the largest waves of mechanisation in history, the diffusion of steam power. We establish using OLS and IV analyses that wages and employment both grew significantly more among steam-adopting industries compared to their non-adopting peers. Growth in total revenue was also significantly higher among steam adopters while labour’s share did not change significantly compared to non-adopters. These findings dispute the common view that the historical modernisation of industry set labour back in absolute terms or relative to capitalists.
The Seminar will be held in Aula 3.
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