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Is this time different? How digitalization influences job creation and destruction

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  • Balsmeier, Benjamin
  • Woerter, Martin

Abstract

With the process of digitalization now in full swing, many are wondering how the adoption of new technologies influences job creation and destruction. Much hinges upon the specific tasks that machines take on and how many new tasks are created through the adoption of new digital technologies. Some argue that most tasks that are at risk of automation are those performed by rather low- to medium-skilled employees, while most new tasks that emerge from the adoption of digital technologies complement high-skilled labor. We present evidence derived from representative survey data from Switzerland that is consistent with this view. Specifically, we find that increased investment in digitalization is associated with increased employment of high-skilled workers and reduced employment of low-skilled workers, with a slightly positive net effect. The main effects are almost entirely driven by firms that employ machine-based digital technologies, e.g. robots, 3D printing or the Internet of Things. We do not find any significant employment effects when non-machine-based digital technologies are considered, e.g. ERP, e-commerce or cooperation support systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Balsmeier, Benjamin & Woerter, Martin, 2019. "Is this time different? How digitalization influences job creation and destruction," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(8), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:48:y:2019:i:8:3
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2019.03.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gravina, Antonio Francesco & Foster-McGregor, Neil, 2020. "Automation, globalisation and relative wages: An empirical analysis of winners and losers," MERIT Working Papers 2020-040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Jose-Ignacio Anton & David Klenert & Enrique Fernandez-Macias & Maria Cesira Urzi Brancati & Georgios Alaveras, 2020. "The labour market impact of robotisation in Europe," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2020-06, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Nambisan, Satish & Wright, Mike & Feldman, Maryann, 2019. "The digital transformation of innovation and entrepreneurship: Progress, challenges and key themes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(8), pages 1-1.
    4. Kinga Hat & Gernot Stoeglehner, 2020. "Spatial Dimension of the Employment Market Exposition to Digitalisation—The Case of Austria," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-29, March.
    5. Culot, Giovanna & Orzes, Guido & Sartor, Marco & Nassimbeni, Guido, 2020. "The future of manufacturing: A Delphi-based scenario analysis on Industry 4.0," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).

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