When tech does things humans never could

Guest Author Aug 16, 2019

Nik Green  Technological progress need not eliminate jobs; automation can allow new and expanded worthwhile activities. Technology can have many different effects on the labour market – it can replace human labour, it can make workers more productive, it can increase the overall demand for workers, and it can create demand for new skills, roles and tasks. Technological progress can … Read More

It doesn’t pay to lose your job!

Guest Author Aug 14, 2019

Tim Maddock    How well does NZ support people who face job loss? I feel fortunate. In my working life – 3 ½ years – I have not yet lost a job. But roughly 2% of New Zealand workers each year do lose their jobs, based on Stats NZ data.1 Closed down. No work today. Photo: Judy Kavanagh. Job loss … Read More

Technological change and the future of love

Guest Author Aug 12, 2019

John MacCormick Online matchmaking has radically changed the way people search for love. Digital marketplaces for romance offer more choice, fewer constraints, and potentially less risk than “traditional” ways of finding prospective mates. How much has this changed the nature and quality of people’s romantic relationships? Jack MacCormick In a similar way, digital labour market platforms change matchmaking for … Read More

Can robots help fund nicer and more attractive places to live?

Guest Author Aug 01, 2019

Judy Kavanagh Robots are going to take our jobs, right?  Well, maybe. The available evidence provides conflicting results: In the US, one new robot reduces employment by 5.6 workers and local wages by about 0.5% according to estimates in Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo’s much cited 2017 paper. In Germany, more robots decrease employment in the manufacturing sector but increase … Read More

Why do the Danes like tech?

Guest Author Jul 31, 2019

Judy Kavanagh    Denmark is a lot like us. A small country and with an open economy and lots of fiords and sounds. (Dave tells me fiords and sounds are different – a sound is formed by the sea flooding a river valley whereas a fiord is where a valley has been carved out by a … Read More

Moon landings, automation fears and commissions of inquiry

Dave Heatley Jul 27, 2019

The 50th anniversary of the moon landings got me thinking about 1960s tech and work. Not that I was working back then – I watched a scratchy B&W TV broadcast at primary school. Source: Wikimedia Commons John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech is remembered for the line: “We choose to go to the Moon in … Read More

The perils of straight-line forecasting

Dave Heatley Jul 25, 2019

Skills scarcity is great. At least when it’s your skills in demand. Scarce skills command a wage premium and those with them are much less likely to face unemployment. (Employers are much less fond of skills scarcity, but they do benefit from skills gluts.) But, when considering training or retraining, how do you pick skills and occupations that will be … Read More

Who should invest their money between workers’ ears?

Guest Author Jul 22, 2019

John MacCormick   Training is an investment in “embodied human capital” – assets stored in workers’ heads. With indentured servitude now deservedly out of fashion, workers can choose to walk out the door without the boss separating those assets from their shoulders. Why would employers invest in assets that can quit? In a simplified labour market model, employers have no reason … Read More