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We Were The Robots: Automation and Voting Behavior in Western Europe

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  • Massimo Anelli
  • Italo Colantone
  • Piero Stanig

Abstract

We investigate the impact of robot adoption on electoral outcomes in 14 Western European countries, between 1993 and 2016. We employ both official election results at the district level and individual-level voting data, combined with party ideology scores from the Manifesto Project. We measure exposure to automation both at the regional level, based on the ex-ante industry specialization of each region, and at the individual level, based on individual characteristics and pre-sample employment patterns in the region of residence. We instrument robot adoption in each country using the pace of robot adoption in other countries. Higher exposure to robot adoption is found to increase support for nationalist and radical right parties. Unveiling some potential transmission channels, higher robot exposure at the individual level leads to poorer perceived economic conditions andwell-being, lower satisfaction with the government and democracy, and a reduction in perceived political self-efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Anelli & Italo Colantone & Piero Stanig, 2019. "We Were The Robots: Automation and Voting Behavior in Western Europe," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 19115, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:baf:cbafwp:cbafwp19115
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Påverkar robotiseringen hur människor röstar?
      by Niclas Berggren in Nonicoclolasos on 2020-01-10 05:37:28

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anthony Edo & Yvonne Giesing, 2020. "Has immigration contributed to the rise of right-wing extremist parties in Europe?," CEPII Policy Brief 2020-34, CEPII research center.
    2. Giuntella, Osea & Wang, Tianyi, 2019. "Is an Army of Robots Marching on Chinese Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 12281, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Gennaioli, Nicola & Tabellini, Guido, 2018. "Identity, Beliefs, and Political Conflict," CEPR Discussion Papers 13390, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. GINSBURGH Victor, & PERELMAN Sergio, & PESTIEAU Pierre,, 2020. "Populism and social polarization in European democracies," CORE Discussion Papers 2020026, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Levi, Eugenio & Patriarca, Fabrizio, 2019. "An exploratory study of populism: the municipality-level predictors of electoral outcomes in Italy," GLO Discussion Paper Series 430, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Victor Ginsburgh & Sergio Perelman & Pierre Pestieau, 2020. "Populism and Social Polarization in European Democracies," Working Papers ECARES 2020-27, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Nationalism; Radical Right.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • 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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