The policy research workshop will explore the economic and social implications of emerging trends in new digital production technologies, their impact on national economies and the global economic systems and the role of industrial policy in steering the digital revolution in a socially desirable direction, preventing damaging consequences and promoting its positive impact. Innovative digital technologies are disruptive in nature and have far-reaching consequences for all three dimensions of sustainable development: They (1) affect future patterns of productivity, competitiveness and employment, (2) exert a strong influence on education and skill requirements, and income distribution, and (3) have the potential to contribute to increased resource-efficiency and ultimately, a decoupling of resource consumption from economic growth. Moreover, from a broader perspective, digital technologies will also play a role in determining the evolving international economic division of labour, inter alia through their impact on global value chains and thus the future position of developing countries in the global economy. In this context, the workshop will also establish a link to the topical debate around ‘latecomer development’ and ‘premature deindustrialization’. With a regional focus on countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the potential for learning from more advanced ‘early movers’ will be explored as an input into the renewed debate on the role of active industrial policies for shaping the digital future.
The current discourse on this topic is rife with speculation and dystopian visions. Against this backdrop, the Workshop will seek to present a sober and balanced stocktaking of both the perils and potentials of new digital technologies. Dedicated thematic panels will bring together leading economists, industry experts and policy practitioners.
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