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Automation and the employment elasticity of fiscal policy

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  • Ebeke, Christian H.
  • Eklou, Kodjovi M.

Abstract

This paper investigates whether automation (the use of industrial robots in production) makes fiscal policy less powerful for stimulating job creation. It posits that a fiscal stimulus will lead to fewer new jobs if the supplementary demand that it creates can be met by using more robots in production processes. Using data for 18 European countries over recent decades, including data on the use of industrial robots, our results show three main findings. First, the pace of automation for the average country in the sample has halved the sensitivity of employment to fiscal stimulus. Second, manufacturing industry employment reacts less to fiscal stimulus in the presence of rapid automation as the average substituability between labor and machines is relatively higher. Third, low-skill jobs as well as women employment are less sensitive to fiscal stimulus in the presence of rapid robot use. We conclude that the effectiveness of fiscal policy in expanding job creation faces an important challenge in a world undergoing structural changes such as the rapid pace of automation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ebeke, Christian H. & Eklou, Kodjovi M., 2023. "Automation and the employment elasticity of fiscal policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:75:y:2023:i:c:s0164070423000022
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2023.103502
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Fiscal policy; Job creation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy; Modern Monetary Theory
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • 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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