Industry 4.0: Challenges for productivity, employment and inclusion

Event Type

Bonn, 28.05.2018 until 29.05.2018


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC)

The policy research workshop explored 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 also established 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’ was 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 seeked to present a sober and balanced stocktaking of both the perils and potentials of new digital technologies. Dedicated thematic panels  brought together leading economists, industry experts and policy practitioners.

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Event information

Date / h
28.05.2018 until 29.05.2018 / 10:00 - 17:30