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The Impact of Digitalization on Work and Labour Markets in the Nordics and the U.S.

In cooperation with the University of Gothenburg, Michigan State University, and MIT, we will examine ongoing restructuring processes related to digitalization of work in Norway, Sweden and the U.S, the effects on labour market institutions and vice versa.


We employ a comparative, multi-level analytical approach and a political economy perspective studying how differences in institutional frameworks affect actor strategies and outcomes at national, sectoral and workplace levels.

The project is organized in two modules.

Module I will study how changes in technologies influence occupational structures. A quantitative study of change in the occupational job structure in Norway and Sweden will be conducted by combining Labour Force Survey (LFS) data on employment in occupations and sectors with register data on wages and skills, to identify tendencies of polarization or upgrading in terms of the changing number of jobs at the high, middle, and low parts of the skill/wage distribution. These results will be contextualized by and compared to existing agenda-setting research on the U.S. labour market.

Module II is based on qualitative interviews with key actors at national, sectoral, and company level, and analysis of relevant documents. The aim is to investigate how differences in market conditions, institutions, and actor power resources influence actor responses and contribute to variations in the adoption and consequences of new digital technologies in the three sectors and countries. Using a “case-in sector”-approach, we will conduct workplace-level case studies in companies experiencing technology-related restructuring in retail, finance and manufacturing. Do we see tendencies towards divergence between sectors within countries and sectoral convergence across countries, altogether implying that digital change rather than a uniform impact give rise to a diversity of country- and sector-specific trajectories of work life change?


Project period

  • Start:
    August 2019
  • End:
    December 2024

Commissioned by

  • The Research Council of Norway

Sustainable development goals