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Innovation, automation, and inequality: Policy challenges in the race against the machine

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  • Prettner, Klaus
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

The effects of automation on economic growth, education, and inequality are analyzed using an R&D-driven growth model with endogenous education in which high-skilled workers are complements to machines and low-skilled workers are substitutes for machines. The model predicts that automation leads to an increasing share of college graduates, increasing income and wealth inequality, and a declining labor share. We show that standard policy suggestions for the age of automation can trigger unintended side effects on inequality, growth, and welfare, irrespective of whether they are financed by progressive wage taxation or by a robot tax.

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  • Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Innovation, automation, and inequality: Policy challenges in the race against the machine," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 249-265.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:116:y:2020:i:c:p:249-265
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2019.10.012
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhn, Michael & Prettner, Klaus, 2020. "Rising longevity, increasing the retirement age, and the consequences for knowledge-based long-run growth," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 02-2020, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    2. Abeliansky, Ana & Prettner, Klaus, 2017. "Automation and demographic change," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 310, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Krenz, Astrid & Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Robots, reshoring, and the lot of low-skilled workers," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 351, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Klaus Prettner & Davud Rostam‐Afschar, 2020. "Can taxes raise output and reduce inequality? The case of lobbying," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 67(5), pages 455-461, November.
    5. Stähler, Nikolai, 2020. "The impact of aging and automation on the macroeconomy and inequality," Discussion Papers 30/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    6. Kohei Okada, 2020. "Dynamic Analysis of Education, Automation, and Economic Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 20-09, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Yixiao ZHOU & Rod TYERS, 2019. "Implications of Automation for Global Migration," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 19-19, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    8. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Furukawa, Yuichi & Liao, Chih-Hsing, 2019. "Effects of Minimum Wage on Automation and Innovation in a Schumpeterian Economy," MPRA Paper 95824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Gasteiger, Emanuel & Prettner, Klaus, 2020. "Automation, stagnation, and the implications of a robot tax," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 02/2020, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.
    10. Brall, Franziska & Schmid, Ramona, 2020. "Automation, robots and wage inequality in Germany: A decomposition analysis," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 14-2020, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Education; Innovation-Driven growth; Inequality; Policy responses;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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