EKH Seminar: Hillary Vipond


Seminar titel: Technological Unemployment in Victorian Britain

Hillary Vipond from London School of Economics will present a seminar titled: 

Technological Unemployment in Victorian Britain


Abstract:  There is no quantitative record of jobs lost to and generated by creative destruction as industries mechanized in Great Britain over the 19th century. Such a record would enable a long run view of the impact of occupational decline, adding a dimension which is currently absent to debates on the future of work. I create a new, sub-industry, level of occupation for England between 1851-1911, using text recorded in individual level English census observations, as digitized by the Integrated Census Microdata project. I focus on the impact of mechanization on the bootmaking industry, and assign 1.3 million English bootmakers to the sub-industry "tasks" they performed. I show that technological unemployment obscured at an industry level of analysis is revealed at the task level. In bootmaking, the occupational structure was transformed as the industry mechanized. Approximately 137 000 jobs disappeared as skills became obsolete, and another 123 000 jobs, demanding new skills, were generated. The new jobs went almost entirely to young bootmakers, and incumbents were not able to transition into the new employment opportunities.  

8 november 2023


Ideon Alfa1:1104
Scheelevägen 15B
223 63 Lund