Robot and Automation, New Insights from Micro Data
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (CST)
- Chair: Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford University
Robot Hubs: The Skewed Distribution of Robots in U.S. Manufacturing
AbstractIn this paper we present results on the distribution of robots in U.S. manufacturing, using new establishment-level microdata collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. We use the data to present a number of facts about the location and use of robots. We find that the distribution of robots is surprisingly skewed across locations, even accounting for the different mix of industry and manufacturing employment across locations. Some locations - which we call "Robot Hubs" - have many more robots than one would expect if distribution of robots was uniform, after accounting for industry and manufacturing employment. We characterize these Robot Hubs along several industry, demographic, and institutional dimensions.
What Are the Labor and Product Market Effects of Automation? New Evidence from France
AbstractWe use comprehensive micro data in the French manufacturing sector between 1995 and 2017 to document the effects of automation technologies on employment, sales, prices, wages, and the labor share. Causal effects are estimated with event studies and a shift-share IV design leveraging pre-determined supply linkages and productivity shocks across foreign suppliers of industrial equipment. At all levels of analysis — plant, firm, and industry — the estimated impact of automation on employment is positive, even for unskilled industrial workers. We find that automation leads to higher sales, higher profits, and lower consumer prices, while it leaves wages, the labor share and within-firm wage inequality unchanged. Consistent with the importance of business-stealing across countries, the estimated industry-level employment response to automation is stronger in industries that face international competition. These estimates can be accounted for in a simple monopolistic competition model: firms that automate more increase their profits but pass through some of the productivity gains to consumers, inducing higher scale and higher labor demand. The results indicate that automation can increase labor demand and can generate productivity gains that are broadly shared across workers, consumers and firm owners. In a globalized world, attempts to curb domestic automation in order to protect domestic employment may be self-defeating due to foreign competition.
Robots, Job Tasks, and Worker Age: A Production-Unit Analysis of Employment
AbstractWe analyze the impact of robot adoption on employment composition using novel micro data on robot use of German manufacturing plants linked with social security records and data on job tasks. Our task-based model predicts more favorable employment effects for the least routine-task intensive occupations and for young workers, the latter being better able to adapt to change. An event-study analysis for robot adoption confirms both predictions. We do not find adverse employment effects for any occupational or age group but churning among low-skilled workers rises sharply.
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights