Fabio Montobbio, Jacopo Staccioli, Maria Enrica Virgillito and Marco Vivarelli

Author Archive | Fabio Montobbio, Jacopo Staccioli, Maria Enrica Virgillito and Marco Vivarelli


Labour-saving automation and occupational exposure: a text-similarity measure

This paper represents one of the first attempts at building a direct measure of occupational exposure to robotic labour-saving technologies. After identifying robotic and LS robotic patents retrieved by Montobbio et al. (2022), the underlying 4-digit CPC definitions are employed in order to detect functions and operations performed by technological artefacts which are more directed […]

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Big pharma and monopoly capitalism: A long-term view

Are IPRs institutions meant to foster innovative activities or conversely to secure appropriation and profitability? Taking stock of a long-term empirical evidence on the pharmaceutical sector in the US, we can hardly support IPRs intended as an innovation rewarding institution. According to our analysis, pharma patents have constituted legal barriers to protect intellectual monopolies rather […]

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Back to the past: the historical roots of labour-saving automation

This paper, relying on a still relatively unexplored long-term dataset on U.S. patent- ing activity, provides empirical evidence on the history of labour-saving innovations back to early 19th century. The identification of mechanisation/automation heuristics, retrieved via textual content analysis on current robotic technologies by Montobbio et al. (2020), allows to focus on a limited set […]

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Robots and the origin of their labour-saving impact

This paper investigates the presence of explicit labour-saving heuristics within robotic patents. It analyses innovative actors engaged in robotic technology and their economic environment (identity, location, industry), and identifies the technological fields par- ticularly exposed to labour-saving innovations. It exploits advanced natural language processing and probabilistic topic modelling techniques on the universe of patent ap- […]

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Workers’ intervention authority in Italian 4.0 factories: autonomy and discretion

The present contribution aims at investigating the relationship between the introduction of Industry 4.0 technological innovations and the ensuing implications for workers’ skills composition, their empowerment, and their authority of intervention in the work process, within three Italian firms exhibiting a wide range of organisational practices: from Japanese Toyotism, to a mix of Taylorism and […]

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Control in the era of surveillance capitalism: an empirical investigation of Italian Industry 4.0 factories

We explore the extent to which the current technological trend, dubbed Industry 4.0, might increase forms of control inside organisations, by focussing on pivotal firms in the so-called Italian Motor Valley currently embracing its adoption. We find that Industry 4.0 technologies open up great possibilities for incorporating the three forms of control identified by Orlikowski […]

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