Person

James Bessen

James Bessen, an economist, serves as Executive Director of the Technology & Policy Research Initiative at Boston University School of Law.
Discussion paper

Automation and jobs: when technology boosts employment

Do industries shed jobs when they adopt new labor-saving technologies? Sometimes productivity-enhancing technology increases industry employment instead. In manufacturing, jobs grew along with productivity for a century or more; only later did productivity gains bring declining employment. What changed? Markets became saturated. While the literature...
Working paper

How computer automation affects occupations: technology, jobs, and skills

This paper investigates basic relationships between technology and occupations. Building a general occupational model, I look at detailed occupations since 1980 to explore whether computers are related to job losses or other sources of wage inequality. Occupations that use computers grow faster, not slower. This...