Off the waterfront: the long-run impact of technological change on dock workers

El-Sahli, Zouheir and Upward, Richard (2017) Off the waterfront: the long-run impact of technological change on dock workers. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 55 (2). pp. 225-273. ISSN 1467-8543

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Abstract

We investigate how individual workers and local labour markets adjust over a long time period to a discrete and plausibly exogenous technological shock, namely the introduction of containerisation in the UK port industry. This technology, which was introduced rapidly between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, had dramatic consequences for specific occupations within the port industry. Using longitudinal micro-census data we follow dock-workers over a 40 year period and examine the long-run consequences of containerisation for patterns of employment, migration and mortality. The results show that the job guarantees negotiated by the unions protected dock-workers' employment until the guarantees were removed in 1989. A matched comparison of workers in comparable unskilled occupations reveals that, even after job guarantees were removed, dock-workers did not fare worse than the comparison group in terms of their labour market outcomes. Our results suggest that job guarantees provided a safety net which reduced the cost to workers of sudden technological change.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: El-Sahli, Z. and Upward, R. (2017), Off the Waterfront: The Long-Run Impact of Technological Change on Dockworkers. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 55: 225–273. doi:10.1111/bjir.12224 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjir.12224/full This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Identification Number: 10.1111/bjir.12224
Depositing User: Upward, Dr Richard
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2017 11:00
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 08:54
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/40156

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