THE FUTURE OF INDUSTRIAL WORK:

NEW PATHWAYS AND POLICIES OF STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION?

 International Workshop
Vienna, Austria, 19-20 September 2019


Download Programme (pdf)

Call for Papers

Industrialization was the prime pathway to prosperity and job growth throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century. Many scholars argue that, for developing countries, Industrialization continues to be essential given the multiple benefits it has been shown to provide to productivity, exports and employment growth as well as to various dimensions of inclusive development. Advocates of industrial policy moreover see an active role for the state in pushing industrial transformation.

Yet, the current trend of structural change may suggest a departure from this traditional pathway. There is evidence of a polarization between successfully industrializing countries and those facing a risk of ‘premature de-industrialization’. The rise of breakthrough technologies such as recent advancements in automation and AI could diminish the labour cost advantage of developing countries and in the long term make it difficult for them to follow the traditional industrialization path of entering into labour intensive industries and continuous upgrading. Moreover, productivity gains due to technological progress may mean that industrialization is becoming more capital intensive but could still be an important driver of economy-wide employment creation.

An international and interdisciplinary workshop jointly organized by UNIDO, UNU-MERIT and the ESRC GCRF Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics Research Network will explore these questions.

The keynote speaker at the workshop is Margaret McMillan (Tufts University). The workshop will also feature a high-profile policy panel chaired by Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER).

The objective of the workshop is to address the following questions:

  1. What would make traditional forms of structural transformation – industrialization – more viable in future years? What public policies are plausible and appropriate?
  2. What is the impact in developing countries of new technologies and ‘Industry 4.0’ on comparative advantage, industrial work and social and economic inclusiveness? What are the distributional and political dynamics of new modes of structural change? What public policies are plausible and appropriate?
  3. How are the manufacturing and service sectors interdependent? Does a strong manufacturing base support the growth of high-tech service industries? Can the growth of high-productivity service industries drive industrialization? What public policies are plausible and appropriate to create synergies between manufacturing and service development for inclusive and sustainable growth?

The workshop calls for empirical and theoretical papers, which address the questions above using:

  • New evidence linking technological change, sectoral growth and jobs creation, poverty and inequality reduction at both the country, the industry and the micro (firm or HH) level;
  • Country case studies bringing evidence on the outcomes of manufacturing vs. services led growth and evidence about whether (and when) the relationship between service and industrial work is synergetic;
  • Evidence on the causes and consequences of premature de-industrialization for economic and social development, work and wages;
  • Evidence on the recent trends in the implementation and the effectiveness of industrial and job-creating policies;

Steering Group

Lukas Schlögl (University of Vienna)
Marco Sanfilippo (University of Bari and University of Antwerp)
Nobuya Haraguchi (UNIDO)
Bruno Martorano (University of Maastricht and UNU-MERIT)
Neil Foster-McGregor (UNU-MERIT)
Andy Sumner (King’s College London)