ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-01302018-185407

Thesis type
Tesi di laurea magistrale
Innovation and inequality: the effect of introduction of machines on workers
Corso di studi
relatore Prof. Fiaschi, Davide
Parole chiave
  • Innovation
  • inequality
  • economics of superstars
  • wealth distribution.
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
In the last decades the exceptional technological pervasiveness has renewed the debate on the effects on technology on the society. Technology and innovations have crucial implications for the wellbeing of the society and the increasing use of technology in the production process is not without consequences for workers. The discussion has relevant historical roots, and, in my humble opinion, it is necessary to review the historical debate on technological unemployment. The first part is devoted to the historical debate on technological unemployment. I focused on the phenomenon of Luddism, and I went through the positions of Ricardo, Marx and the other classical economists, passing from marginalists until the first half of the twentieth century. Then, I’ll analyse the sources of introduction of labor-saving innovations in the context of Industrial Revolution, comparing how factor prices, path-dependency, cumulativeness of technological progress and both industrial relations and industrial conflicts might have played a role in this process. In the last part, I reviewed the debate on the increase of income (and wealth) inequalities starting from 1980s which has afflicted many countries. Relatedly to this, I shared the position of some authors, such as Piketty, which do not attribute the surge for top shares only to skill-biased technical change and to a race between technology and education. The surge of shares in the upper-tail of the distribution can be better understood in the context of the economics of superstars, the model proposed for the first time by Rosen (1983). Furthermore, I have analysed the evolution of Forbes’ billionaires, by dividing them in innovators and non-innovators. After having analysed the evolution of the alpha of the Pareto distribution, I have analysed the dynamics of the classes by using Markov transition matrixes. A stochastic process of wealth accumulation, moreover, has helped me to bring out some unexplored links between innovation and inequalities, and between innovation and economic growth.