A fourth industrial revolution? Digital transformation, labor and work organization: a view from Spain

  • Francisco-Javier BrañaEmail author


The paper offers an overview of how the process of technological innovation known as digitization affects the capitalist production mode and its relations of production, particularly in Spain, based on a review of the bibliography and the statistical sources available. The gradual appearance or development, since the last quarter of the last century, of a set of information and communication technologies, which allow the hybridization between the physical and the digital world, erasing the borders between both worlds, has led to talk of Industry 4.0 also called “the fourth industrial revolution”. After this supposed revolution, there would be a digital revolution. Though is paradoxical that, since the 1980s, in Europe the industry continues to lose weight in the economy as a whole, in employment and participation in Gross Value Added. The paper reviews the effects of digitalization and automation on employment and working conditions, in particular polarization, changes in employment shares across occupations, and jobs at risk, with some emphasis in the Spanish case. In the last section the paper intends to answer the question whether there is a progressive industrial policy feasible.


Digital revolution Industrial revolution Industry 4.0 Labor Employment and Work organization Industrial policy 

Jel Classification

O33 O25 L50 J21 J30 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. I thank the editors and the referees for their suggestions that improved the paper, although, as usual, any error is only attributable to the author.


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Copyright information

© Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales (ICEI)Pozuelo de AlarcónSpain

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