Background paper

Making Sense of New Technologies and Jobs in Developing Countries


Lippolis, N. Making Sense of New Technologies and Jobs in Developing Countries. Pathways for Prosperity Commission Background Paper Series; no. 13. Oxford. United Kingdom.

Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of studies attempting to estimate the number of jobs at risk of automation. Studies of this kind have recently also been extended to the developing world. Although there is merit in bringing attention to the risks posed by technological developments, these analyses share common methodological problems and should be interpreted with caution. Instead, reports looking at the issue through a broader economic lens offer greater insights for developing countries, even as their arguments would benefit from firmer backing from rigorous economic research. This paper argues that further attempts to quantify exposure to automation in labour markets hold little promise, and that future research should be conducted more holistically, taking into account the variety of effects exerted by new technologies on the economies, polities and societies of developing countries.