Carnegie Mellon University

Christophe Combemale

Christophe Combemale

Assistant Research Professor, Engineering and Public Policy

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


I am an assistant research professor of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, with a research appointment at the Block Center for Technology and Society at CMU’s Heinz College. 

My research focuses on the implications of technology choices and process design for skill demand, and on workforce supply chain levers to meet industry skill demand needs. I am interested in how regional and national labor supply may constrain economic productivity and innovation, and solutions that enhance outcomes for workers and firms. 

In addition to my research role, I serve as a consultant to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services on workforce development and strategic programs such as rate-setting for large scale Medicaid reimbursements for behavioral health services.

I am also an expert contributor on labor and technology issues for an NSF-funded pilot program seeking to develop a National Network for Critical Technology Assessment. The program objective is to develop assessment capabilities for critical technologies for U.S. competitiveness and present insights to U.S. legislators.


Working at the intersection of economics, engineering, and history, my dissertation research brings novel data, technological nuance, and new theoretical underpinnings to our understanding of the labor and organizational effects of technological change, such as skill demand, management and industry structure and worker displacement.

My work demonstrates how the effects of technological change on skill demand are mediated through the division of tasks and problem solving, and hence how and why different technological characteristics give different effects on work structure and skill demand. My work supports policy and strategy by identifying points of leverage to affect not only demand outcomes but also intermediate phenomena such as the content of technological change.

My research approach is supported by the highly interdisciplinary character of my dissertation committee: Erica Fuchs (New Technology Commercialization and Policy: Engineering and Public Policy), Katie Whitefoot (Engineering Design and Marketplace Adoption: Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering), Laurence Ales (Macroeconomics, Taxation, Wage Inequality: Tepper School of Business) and Brian Kovak (Labor Economics, Trade, Migration: Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy).