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Is Modern Technology Responsible for Jobless Recoveries?

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  • Georg Graetz
  • Guy Michaels

Abstract

Since the early 1990s, recoveries from recessions in the US have been plagued by weak employment growth. We investigate whether a similar problem afflicts other developed economies, and whether technology is a culprit. We study recoveries from 71 recessions in 28 industries and 17 countries from 1970-2011. We find that though GDP recovered more slowly after recent recessions, employment did not. Industries that used more routine tasks, and those more exposed to robotization, did not recently experience slower employment recoveries. Finally, middle-skill employment did not recover more slowly after recent recessions, and this pattern was no different in routine-intensive industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2017. "Is Modern Technology Responsible for Jobless Recoveries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 168-173, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:168-73
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2017. "Is Modern Technology Responsible for Jobless Recoveries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 168-173, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Verdugo, Gregory & Allègre, Guillaume, 2020. "Labour force participation and job polarization: Evidence from Europe during the Great Recession," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    2. Teresa C. Fort & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2018. "New Perspectives on the Decline of US Manufacturing Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 47-72, Spring.
    3. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2018. "Robots at Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 753-768, December.
    4. McGuinness, Seamus & Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Redmond, Paul, 2019. "Skills-Displacing Technological Change and Its Impact on Jobs: Challenging Technological Alarmism?," IZA Discussion Papers 12541, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2017. "Is Modern Technology Responsible for Jobless Recoveries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 168-173, May.
    6. Weller, Jürgen, 2020. "Technological change and employment in Latin America: opportunities and challenges," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    7. Li, Xun & Hui, Eddie Chi-man & Lang, Wei & Zheng, Shali & Qin, Xiaozhen, 2020. "Transition from factor-driven to innovation-driven urbanization in China: A study of manufacturing industry automation in Dongguan City," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    8. Grace Lordan, 2019. "People versus machines in the UK: Minimum wages, labor reallocation and automatable jobs," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(12), pages 1-16, December.
    9. Pietro Santoleri, 2019. "Innovation and job creation in (high-growth) new firms," LEM Papers Series 2019/31, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    10. Dauth, Wolfgang & Findeisen, Sebastian & S�dekum, Jens & Woessner, Nicole, 2017. "German Robots - The Impact of Industrial Robots on Workers," CEPR Discussion Papers 12306, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Camiña, Ester & Díaz-Chao, Ángel & Torrent-Sellens, Joan, 2020. "Automation technologies: Long-term effects for Spanish industrial firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    12. Meredith M. Paker, 2020. "The Jobless Recovery After the 1980-1981 UK Recession," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _182, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    13. CELI, Giuseppe & VITI, Domenico, 2018. "Land Use, Internal Mobility And External Immigration In Italy," Annals of Spiru Haret University, Economic Series, Universitatea Spiru Haret, vol. 18(3), pages 23-43.
    14. Anderton, Robert & Jarvis, Valerie & Labhard, Vincent & Morgan, Julian & Petroulakis, Filippos & Vivian, Lara, 2020. "Virtually everywhere? Digitalisation and the euro area and EU economies," Occasional Paper Series 244, European Central Bank.
    15. Heijs, Joost & Arenas Díaz, Guillermo & Vergara Reyes, Delia Margarita, 2019. "Impact of innovation on employment in quantitative terms: review of empirical literature based on microdata," MPRA Paper 95326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Warn N. Lekfuangfu & Voraprapa Nakavachara, 2020. "Reshaping Thailand's Labor Market Structure: The Unified Forces of Technology and Trade," PIER Discussion Papers 123, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Jan 2020.
    17. Ndubuisi, Gideon & Avenyo, Elvis, 2018. "Estimating the effects of robotization on exports," MERIT Working Papers 2018-046, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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