Publication:
The Impact of Digital Technologies on Routine Tasks: Do Labor Policies Matter?

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Files in English
English PDF (1006.46 KB)
669 downloads
English Text (102.82 KB)
29 downloads
Date
2017-09
ISSN
Published
2017-09
Author(s)
Corseuil, Carlos H.L.
Poole, Jennifer P.
Abstract
There is a strong concern that technology is increasingly replacing routine tasks, displacing lower-skilled workers. Labor market institutions exist to protect workers from shocks but, by increasing labor costs, labor policy may also constrain firms from adjusting the workforce and, hence, from fully benefiting from technology adoption. This paper assesses the link between access to digital technologies and the demand for skills in the largest Latin American country, Brazil. Between 1996 and 2006, the country experienced a period of strong growth in Internet service provision, as well as in the enforcement of labor market regulations at the subnational level. The paper's empirical strategy exploits administrative data to assess the extent to which the adoption of digital technology affects employment and the skill content of jobs at the local level. In addition, the paper investigates whether the stringency of labor regulations influences this adjustment, by comparing the effect across industries subject to different degrees of enforcement of labor regulations. Using the fact that industries vary in the degree of reliance on digital technologies, the estimates suggest that digital technology adoption leads to a reduction in employment in local labor markets. The decrease in employment is larger for routine tasks, thereby shifting the composition of the workforce toward nonroutine, cognitive skills. However, and in contrast with labor policy intentions, the evidence points to the idea that labor market regulations differentially benefit the skilled workforce, particularly those workers employed in nonroutine, cognitive tasks.
Link to Data Set
Citation
Corseuil, Carlos H.L.; Almeida, Rita K.; Poole, Jennifer P.. 2017. The Impact of Digital Technologies on Routine Tasks: Do Labor Policies Matter?. Policy Research Working Paper;No. 8187. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/28364 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
Report Series
Report Series
Other publications in this report series
  • Publication
    Are Short-Term Gains in Learning Outcomes Possible? Evidence from the Malawi Education Sector Improvement Project
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-07-17) Asim, Salman; Gera, Ravinder Casley
    This paper presents evidence of the impact of a five-year package of interconnected interventions intended to improve learning environments in eight disadvantaged districts in Malawi. The intervention, which was implemented over five years, provided additional finance to schools to support the hiring of additional teachers and construction of learning shelters to improve class sizes in lower primary, along with constructing classrooms and providing results-based finance to reward improvements in staffing. The interventions were targeted to eight districts with longstanding disadvantages in staffing, learning environments, and learning outcomes, particularly for girls. Employing administrative data and data from a nationally representative independent sample of public primary schools, the analysis finds that these investments closed the gap in learning outcomes between the targeted districts and the rest of Malawi. There is also suggestive evidence that the program reduced learning gaps between girls and boys. The findings suggest that even in a low-income environment with significant constraints, targeted efforts to reduce class sizes can close district-level gaps in learning.
  • Publication
    Does Effective School Leadership Improve Student Progression and Test Scores? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Malawi
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-07-17) Asim, Salman; Gera, Ravinder Casley; Harris, Donna; Dercon, Stefan
    Evidence from high-income countries suggests that the quality of school leadership has measurable impacts on teacher behaviors and student learning achievement. However, there is a lack of rigorous evidence in low-income contexts, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study tests the impact on student progression and test scores of a two-year, multi-phase intervention to strengthen leadership skills for head teachers, deputy head teachers, and sub-district education officials. The intervention consists of two phases of classroom training along with follow-up visits, implemented over two years. It focuses on skills related to making more efficient use of resources; motivating and incentivizing teachers to improve performance; and curating a culture in which students and teachers are all motivated to strengthen learning. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 1,198 schools in all districts of Malawi, providing evidence of the impact of the intervention at scale. The findings show that the intervention improved student test scores by 0.1 standard deviations, equivalent to around eight weeks of additional learning, as well as improving progression rates. The outcomes were achieved primarily as a result of improvements in the provision of remedial classes.
  • Publication
    Connectivity, Road Quality, and Jobs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-07-17) Pkhikidze, Nino
    Good road infrastructure decreases travel time and improves accessibility to urban areas. Improved rural-urban linkages could also affect rural employment through decreased time and travel costs. To study this link, the paper analyzes the impact of good quality roads on agricultural and non-agricultural jobs in Armenia, using different sets of data and different methodological approaches. To address endogeneity and reverse causality issues of road quality, the paper uses a historical instrumental variable obtained by digitizing historical roads which were mainly used for military purposes - from a military-topographic map of the Caucasus from 1903. The results show that a shorter distance to a good quality road has a statistically significant positive impact on overall non-agricultural employment for men and women, increasing the likelihood of cash-earning jobs for rural women and skilled manual and non-seasonal employment for rural men. People are more likely to work outside their villages and work for more hours if they have access to good quality roads. The results are robust from the analysis of Demographic and Health Survey as well as the Integrated Living Conditions Survey of Armenia.
  • Publication
    A Metric of Global Maritime Supply Chain Disruptions
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-07-16) Arvis, Jean-François; Rastogi, Cordula; Rodrigue, Jean-Paul; Ulybina, Daria
    Global supply chains recently faced widespread disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in 2021 and 2022, while in late 2023, geopolitical incidents in the Red Sea and water shortages in the Panama Canal disrupted global shipping routes. Regardless of the cause, delays, or rerouting mean that disruption diffuses at a global scale. To quantify and assess the magnitude of disruptions globally or locally, in 2021, the World Bank developed a proposed metric, the Global Supply Chain Stress Index. The index derives from Automatic Identification System tracking data. It calculates the equivalent stalled ship capacity measured in twenty-foot equivalent units), providing data at the port, country, regional, and global levels. This granular information can inform targeted interventions and contingency planning, improving the resilience of maritime infrastructure and networks. The index explains the observed surges in shipping rates during disruptions, assuming shippers’ willingness to pay for scarcer shipping slots. An increase of 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units in global stress pushes the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index up by US$2,300 per twenty-foot equivalent unit.
  • Publication
    Learning Loss as a Result of COVID-19
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-07-16) Asim, Salman; Bashir, Sajitha; Gera, Ravinder Casley
    School closures from COVID-19 have resulted in large learning losses, from 0.05 to 0.17 standard deviations in high income countries, equivalent to two to six months of lost learning. However, the extent of primary-level learning loss in low-income countries remains unclear, studies lack information on individual students’ learning trajectories, and most do not include students who dropped out. This paper uses representative survey data from Malawi that includes unique longitudinal data on individual students (grade 4 at baseline), including those who dropped out, at three points in time: pre-COVID; 1–12 months before the seven-month school closures; and 14–20 months after schools reopened. Across math, English, and Chichewa, the local language, the average learning loss amounts to 18 months (78 points, 0.78 standard deviations), significantly higher than the loss documented in high income contexts. Decomposing this loss, the findings show that students lost 0.25 standard deviations of existing knowledge during the closure, and a further 0.23 standard deviations in foregone learning compared to the expected trajectory had schools remained open. Further loss comes from a slowdown in learning after schools reopened, with students gaining 7 points’ less new knowledge in math per 100 days, the majority of which is not explained by increased dropout. Our findings are relevant for other low-income and lower-middle income contexts: remote learning during school closure was in general ineffectual, necessitating urgent action to remediate lost learning; and children who dropped out had the highest learning losses and now require out-of-school learning opportunities.
Journal
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Associated URLs
Associated content
Citations