General purpose technology diffusion and labour market dynamics : A spatio-temporal perspective

Sammanfattning: This dissertation aims at advancing the knowledge about the role of the labour market in the process of the technology-induced economic transformation, taking into account the variety of factors involved at micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of the economy and at different geographical scales. Empirically, the dissertation investigates the co-evolutionary dynamics of industrial restructuring and worker reallocation across and within regional labour markets induced by the diffusion of the information technology as a general purpose technology (GPT) in Sweden in the period between 1985 and 2010.The analytical framework employed in the dissertation combines the theoretical perspectives on the long-term economic development with the insights from the labour market studies on the dual role of the labour market in the process of technology-induced structural change. These two strands of research are integrated into the evolutionary model of economic change that links explicitly the microlevel processes of response to GPT-induced transformation pressures to the macro-level determinants and outcomes of these processes.The findings of this dissertation indicate that the dynamics of technological change as well as its implications for functioning of regional labour markets should be approached through the prism of technology diffusion process which unfolds in time and space. To be able to understand the technology diffusion process one should address four intertwined questions: what kind of technology is diffused, how it is diffused, when it is diffused as well as where it is diffused at different points in time.Also, the dissertation suggests that the role of the labour market in the technology-induced transformation is far from the smoothly operating mechanism of adjustment to economy-wide economic shocks, as it is often assumed in mainstream approaches to economic theorising. In that respect, the dissertation provides a reference point for studies of labour market evolution beyond the standard equilibrium approach.

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