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Innovative Work Practices, Information Technologies, and Working Conditions: Evidence for France




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       The authors’ affiliations are, respectively, CNRS/Paris School of Economics and IZA, 48 Boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France E-mail:; Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre, EconomiX and Paris School of Economics, 48 Boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France. This research has been funded by a grant from the French Ministry of Research. We are indebted to David Fairris, Bénédicte Reynaud, and Muriel Roger for most valuable discussions. Thomas Coutrot, Sylvie Hamon-Cholet as well as participants to the French-German seminar on Labour in Berlin, the International Conference on Organisational Designs, Management Styles and Firm Performance in Bergamo and the seminar on Labour Intensification at Centre d’Etude de l’Emploi also provided useful remarks. The present version of the paper also owes a lot to suggestions made by Andrea Bassanini, Trond Petersen, and three anonymous referees. All remaining errors are our own.


We investigate the impact of new work practices and information and communication technologies (ICT) on working conditions in France. We use a unique French dataset providing information on individual workers for the year 1998. New work practices include the use of quality norms, job rotation, collective discussions on work organization, and work time flexibility. Working conditions are captured by occupational injuries as well as indicators of mental strain. We find that individuals working under the new practices face greater mental strain than individuals who do not. They also face a higher probability of work injuries, at least for benign ones. In contrast, our results suggest that ICT contribute to make the workplace more cooperative and to reduce occupational risks and injuries.