Revolution 4.0 as a Factor of Change in the Labour Market


Objectives: The aim of the deliberations is to show how the exogenous factors, in this case the subsequent Industrial Revolutions, affected the structural changes of the labour market and how they were perceived by the economists.

Research Design & Methods: The research area is limited to the theory that explains the functions of the labour market in the historical perspective. The study is a theoretical study that combines the elements of analysis in the field of economic history and the development of economic thought. The justification of the presented theses was made using the induction method and the comparative method, both of which enable the presentation of the labour market evolution process in a relatively long-time horizon.

Findings: The structure of the study reflects the changes that have taken place in the economic theory under the influence of the Industrial Revolutions. The last of them, the Revolution 4.0, is a reference point to form the key questions regarding the automation and redistribution of income that the contemporary labour market researchers are concerned with.

Implications / Recommendations: In the theoretical dimension, the attention was drawn to the usefulness of the comparative analysis method for understanding the profound changes in the labour market. The practical aspect of the research is to identify the potential threats that arose as a consequence of the Revolution 4.0. Understanding them makes it possible to take action in the field of social, economic, and educational policies that aim at reducing social tensions resulting from dynamic changes taking place in the labour market.

Contribution / Value Added: The technological progress is most often treated as a key factor that affects the supply side of the economy. It enables an increase of the productive potential of highly developed societies. The presented considerations reveal the analogies that arise in connection with the functioning of the labour market in the context of subsequent technological revolutions. Particular attention was paid to the influence of technological progress on the demand side of the economy and the consequences related to the distribution of income. The article is an attempt to supplement the reflection on the impact of the latest advancements in information technology with the context of historical changes that have taken place in the labour market.

Article classification: theoretical article, conceptual article

JEL classification: O31, O33, B30, J31


Revolution 4.0; labour market; technological progress; classical political economy; neoclassical economics

Acemoglu, D., & Autor, D. (2010). Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Working Paper 16082.
Autor, D., & Dorn, D. (2013). The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market. American Economic Review, 103(5), 1553–1597.
Autor, D., Levy, F., & Murnane, R. (2003). The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(4), 1279–1333.
Bharat, S. (2014). A Little More, How Much It Is. Piloting Basing Income Transfers in Madhya Pradesh, India. Retrieved from: (accessed: 08.12.2019).
Botham, F. W., & Hunt, E. H. (1987). Wages in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. The Economic History Review, 40(3), 380–399.
Brynjolfsson, E., & McAffee, A. (2011). Race Against the Machine: How the digital revolution is accelerating innovation, driving productivity, and irreversibly transforming employment and the economy. Digital Frontier Press.
Clark, G. (2014). Pożegnanie z jałmużną. Krótka historia gospodarcza świata. Wydawnictwo Zysk i Spółka.
Clark, J. B. (1908). The Distribution of Wealth: A Theory of Wages, Interest and Profits. The Macmillan Company.
Dachs, B. (2018). The impact of new technologies on the labour market and the social economy. Brussels: European Parliament Research Service. Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA).
Doyle, C. C. (2014). ‘Sheep Eat Men’: A Retrospective Proverb. Moreana, 51(3-4), 166–179.
Ford, M. (2015). Rise of the Robots. Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. Basic Books.
Freeman, Ch., & Soete, L. (1997). The Economics of Industrial Innovation. Routledge.
Frey, C. B., & Osborne, M. A. (2013). The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation? Oxford: Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
Giza, W. (2007). Problem funkcjonalnego podziału dochodu w gospodarce opartej na wiedzy. Perspektywa historii myśli ekonomicznej. Nierówności Społeczne a Wzrost Gospodarczy, 10, 269–281.
Harrop, A., & Tait, C. (2017). Universal Basic Income and the Future of Work. Fabian Society, Commisioned by the TUC.
Joao, G., Rebelo, S., & Teles, P. (2017). Should Robots Be Taxed? CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12238.
Kubiczek, A. (2006). Instytucjonalne uwarunkowania zmian na rynku pracy. Ekonomia i Prawo, 2, 125–136.
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Leszczyńska, M. (2006). Podział dochodów i jego nierówności – implikacje teorii ekonomicznych dla polityki społecznej. Problemy Polityki Społecznej, 9, 81–95.
Mackaman, T. (2014). 100 years since Ford’s fivedollar day. Retrieved from: (accessed: 08.12.2019).
Malthus, T. R. (1798). An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers. Printed for J. Johnson, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard. Marshall, A. (1920). Principles of Economics. Macmillan.
Marx, K. (1867). Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie. Verlag von Otto Meissner.
Mokyr, J., & Strotz, R. H. (2000) The Second Industrial Revolution: 1870–1914. Retrieved from: (accessed: 05.01.2020).
McNulty, P. J. (1966). Labor Market Analysis and the Development of Labor Economics. ILR Review, 19(4), 538–548.
Phillips, D. G. (1967). The Wages Fund in Historical Context. Journal of Economic Issues, 1(4): 321–334.
Rifkin, J. (1995). The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Rifkin, J. (2016). Społeczeństwo zerowych kosztów krańcowych. Internet przedmiotów. Ekonomia współdzielenia. Zmierzch kapitalizmu. Studio Emka.
Schwab, K. (2017). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Penguin Random House.
Smith, A. (1981 [1776]). An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Liberty Classics Edition.
Solow, R. (1957). Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function. Review of Economics and Statistics, 39(3), 312–320.
Stigler, G. J. (1994). Production and Distribution Theories. Macmillan.
Susskind, D., & Susskind, R. (2015). The Future of Professions: How technology will transform the work of human experts? Oxford University Press.
Toynbee, A. (1884). Lectures on the Industrial Revolution in England. Rivingtons.
Veblen, T. (1898) Why Is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 12(4), 373–397.
Warsh, D. (2012). Wiedza i bogactwo narodów. Historia odkrycia ekonomicznego. Instytut Wiedzy i Innowacji.
Webb, B., & Webb, S. (1920). The History of Trade Unionism, 1666–1920. Authors for the Trade Unionists of the United Kingdom.
Williamson, J. G. (1984). Why was British growth so slow during the industrial revolution? The Journal of Economic History, 44(3), 687–712.

Published : 2021-05-13

Giza, W., & Sztokfisz, B. (2021). Revolution 4.0 as a Factor of Change in the Labour Market. Journal of Public Governance, (52(2), 5-16.

Wojciech Giza 
Cracow University of Economics  Poland

ul. Rakowicka 27
31-510 Cracow, Poland;

Barbara Sztokfisz 
Cracow University of Economics  Poland

ul. Rakowicka 27
31-510 Cracow, Poland


Download data is not yet available.