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Modeling Automation


  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Pascual Restrepo


Modeling automation as factor-augmenting technological change has unappealing implications. Instead, modeling it as the process of machines replacing tasks previously performed by labor is both descriptively realistic and leads to distinct and plausible predictions. In contrast to factor-augmenting technological change, the automation of tasks always reduces the labor share and can reduce the equilibrium wage (for realistic parameter values). This approach to automation underscores the role of new tasks, changes in the comparative advantage of labor, the possibility that machines become more productive in automated tasks, and the elasticity of substitution and capital accumulation in the adjustment of the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2018. "Modeling Automation," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 48-53, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:apandp:v:108:y:2018:p:48-53
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2016. "The Race Between Machine and Man: Implications of Technology for Growth, Factor Shares and Employment," NBER Working Papers 22252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2020. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(6), pages 2188-2244.
    6. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2018. "Robots at Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 753-768, December.
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    9. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2017. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series dp-297, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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    8. Leone, Fabrizio, 2021. "Foreign Ownership and Robot Adoption," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 2111, CEPREMAP.
    9. Harald Sander, 2019. "A European Policy Agenda in and for the New Global Economy," Book, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, edition 1, volume 1, number y:2019:v:1:ch:3:p:56-87 edited by Justin Yifu Lin & Alojzy Z. Nowak, June.
    10. de Vries, Gaaitzen J. & Gentile, Elisabetta & Miroudot, Sébastien & Wacker, Konstantin M., 2020. "The rise of robots and the fall of routine jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
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    18. Kraft, Kornelius & Lammers, Alexander, 2021. "The Effects of Reforming a Federal Employment Agency on Labor Demand," IZA Discussion Papers 14629, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    20. Laurie S. M. Reijnders & Marcel P. Timmer & Xianjia Ye, 2021. "Labour demand in global value chains: Is there a bias against unskilled work?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(9), pages 2547-2571, September.
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    22. Alonso, Cristian & Berg, Andrew & Kothari, Siddharth & Papageorgiou, Chris & Rehman, Sidra, 2022. "Will the AI revolution cause a great divergence?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 18-37.
    23. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2020. "Heterogeneous Relationships between Automation Technologies and Skilled Labor: Evidence from a Firm Survey," Discussion papers 20004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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    25. Yasin Yilmaz, 2021. "Transition to the Digital Economy, Its Measurement and the Relationship between Digitalization and Productivity," Istanbul Journal of Economics-Istanbul Iktisat Dergisi, Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 71(1), pages 283-316, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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