Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies (AMCIS)

AMCIS Seminar Aina Gallego - The political implications of technological change

Longitudinal evidence from the UK

12Apr2018 15:30 - 17:00


Despite a very lively academic and public debate about the potentially disruptive transformation of workplaces due to digitalization and automation, we know little about the political consequences of technological change.

Do citizens in workplaces undergoing rapid digitalization change their political attitudes and behavior? We study the impact of digitalization on the political attitudes of workers in the UK.

Unlike previous studies that use occupational data as proxies of risk, we collect indicators of ICT capital stocks at the industry level, a more direct measure of digitalization, and merge them with individual-level panel data from the British Household Panel Study and the Understanding Society surveys between 1997 and 2013.

Digitalization produces polarization

First, we confirm that digitalization produces polarization in labor market outcomes between highly and less educated workers. Next, we document similar divergence in political outcomes. Digitalization is associated with higher turnout for highly skilled workers. Among workers with low education levels, digitalization reduces turnout and support for the Labour Party, and increases support for UKIP.

Increasing political discontent

Our analyses suggest that the ongoing wave of technological change may be contributing to the increasing political discontent of unskilled workers, the political divergence between urban technological hubs and left-behind territories, and to the rise of protest politics.

About Aina Gallego

Aina Gallego is an Assistant Professor (Ramon y Cajal Fellow) at the Institut de Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals and a Research Associate at the Institute of Political Economy and Governance.

She has a long-standing interest in the political representation of the poor. Her book "Unequal Participation Worldwide" analyzed inequalities in voter turnout in a comparative perspective and argued that turnout gaps can be reduced through institutional reforms. A related ongoing project examines if the interests of the poor are better represented by politicians of a similar socio-economic background with detailed data about Spanish municipalities. Before coming to IBEI, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Spanish High Research Council and at Stanford University.

Location: REC- B2.11, 15.30-17.00, REC-B2.11 (drinks afterwards)

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Building B: +31 (0)20 525 5340 | Building C: +31 (0)20 525 5470

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