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CentrePiece article
In brief - New technology: who wins, who loses?
John Van Reenen, Nicholas Bloom, Luis Garicano and Raffaella Sadun
May 2014
Paper No' CEPCP418:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 19 (1) Spring 2014

JEL Classification: O31; O32; O33; F23

Tags: organisation; delegation; information technology; communication technology; the theory of the firm

Technology has transformed the once powerful office of ambassador into a glorified sales position, while nurses, teaching assistants and medical technicians all benefit from the ICT revolution. According to an empirical study by Professor John Van Reenen and colleagues, these contrasting fortunes arise from the fact that different technologies can have very different effects on the labour market. Information technologies, which provide access to stored data, tend to empower frontline workers, while communications technologies like email tend to increase the centralisation of firms, putting more power in the hands of senior managers in corporate headquarters and reducing their employees’ personal autonomy.

This article summarises 'The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organisation' by Nicholas Bloom, Luis Garicano, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen, CEP Discussion Paper No. 927, May 2009. Revised June 2013.