The interplay between labour institutions and firm-level adoption of new technologies such as robotics andother advanced digital tools remains poorly understood. Using a cross-sectional sample of more than 20,000European establishments, we document a positive association between shop-floor employee representation (ER)and utilization of emerging technologies. We explore mechanisms driving this correlation by exploiting richinformation on the role played by ER in relation to well-defined decision areas of management, such as workorganization, dismissals, training and working time. In addition, we conduct a quantitative case study usinga panel of Italian firms and exploiting size-contingent policy rules governing the operation of ER bodies inthe context of a local-randomization regression discontinuity design. The analysis suggests a positive effectof ER on investments in advanced technologies around the firm size cut-off, although results are sensitiveto type of technology and specification choices. We also document positive effects on training and processinnovation, and no evidence of changes in composition of employment. Our findings cast doubt on the ideathat ER discourages technology adoption. Rather, ER seems to influence workplace practices that enhance thecomplementarity between labour and new advanced technologies.

Belloc, F., Gabriel, B., Landini, F. (2023). Advanced Technologies and Worker Voice. ECONOMICA(90), 1-38 [10.1111/ecca.12446].

Advanced Technologies and Worker Voice

Filippo Belloc;Gabriel Burdin;Fabio Landini
2023-01-01

Abstract

The interplay between labour institutions and firm-level adoption of new technologies such as robotics andother advanced digital tools remains poorly understood. Using a cross-sectional sample of more than 20,000European establishments, we document a positive association between shop-floor employee representation (ER)and utilization of emerging technologies. We explore mechanisms driving this correlation by exploiting richinformation on the role played by ER in relation to well-defined decision areas of management, such as workorganization, dismissals, training and working time. In addition, we conduct a quantitative case study usinga panel of Italian firms and exploiting size-contingent policy rules governing the operation of ER bodies inthe context of a local-randomization regression discontinuity design. The analysis suggests a positive effectof ER on investments in advanced technologies around the firm size cut-off, although results are sensitiveto type of technology and specification choices. We also document positive effects on training and processinnovation, and no evidence of changes in composition of employment. Our findings cast doubt on the ideathat ER discourages technology adoption. Rather, ER seems to influence workplace practices that enhance thecomplementarity between labour and new advanced technologies.
Belloc, F., Gabriel, B., Landini, F. (2023). Advanced Technologies and Worker Voice. ECONOMICA(90), 1-38 [10.1111/ecca.12446].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11365/1216934