Are New Work Practices and New Technologies Biased against Immigrant Workers?

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 21.03.2006, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Michael Rosholm (Aarhus University)


New technologies and new work practices have been introduced and implemented on a broad range in the production process in most advanced industrialised countries during the last two decades. New work organisation practices like team organisation and job rotation require interpersonal communication to a larger extent than the traditional assembly line types of production. In addition to handling the formal language, communication in this respect includes country specific skills related to understanding social and cultural codes, unwritten rules, implicit communication, norms etc. In this paper we analyse whether these developments by increasing the importance of communication and informal human capital have had a negative effect on employment opportunities of immigrants. The results show that firms that use PCs intensively and firms that give their employees lot of autonomy employ fewer Non-Western immigrants not raised in Norway. Furthermore, the negative relationships are especially strong for low skilled Non-Western immigrants. These results adds support to a hypothesis saying that new technologies and (some) new work practices are biased against Non- Western immigrant workers, and especially against those with low formal skills.

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