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Automation, Growth, and Factor Shares in the Era of Population Aging

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  • Andreas Irmen

Abstract

How does population aging affect economic growth and factor shares in times of increasingly automatable production processes? The present paper addresses this question in a new macroeconomic model of automation where competitive firms perform tasks to produce output. Tasks require labor and machines as inputs. New machines embody superior technological knowledge and substitute for labor in the performance of tasks. Automation is labor-augmenting in the reduced-form aggregate production function. If wages increase then the incentive to automate becomes stronger. Moreover, the labor share declines even though the aggregate production function is Cobb-Douglas. Population aging due to a higher longevity reduces automation in the short and promotes it in the long run. It boosts the growth rate of absolute and per-capita GDP in the short and the long run, lifts the labor share in the short and reduces it in the long run. Population aging due to a decline in fertility increases automation, reduces the growth rate of GDP, and lowers the labor share in the short and the long run. In the short run, it may or may not increase the growth rate of per-capita GDP, in the long run it unequivocally accelerates per-capita GDP growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Irmen, 2021. "Automation, Growth, and Factor Shares in the Era of Population Aging," CESifo Working Paper Series 9193, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9193
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    Cited by:

    1. Stähler, Nikolai, 2021. "The Impact of Aging and Automation on the Macroeconomy and Inequality," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    2. Burkhard Heer & Andreas Irmen & Bernd Süssmuth, 2020. "Explaining the Decline in the US Labor Share: Taxation and Automation," DEM Discussion Paper Series 20-20, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    3. Iong, Ka-Kit & Irmen, Andreas, 2021. "The supply of hours worked and fluctuations between growth regimes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    4. Sasaki, Hiroaki, 2022. "Growth with Automation Capital and Declining Population," MPRA Paper 113977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Zhiwei Liu & Yonglei Fang & Lei Ma, 2022. "A Study on the Impact of Population Age Structure Change on Economic Growth in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(7), pages 1-15, March.
    6. Catarina Peralta & Pedro Mazeda Gil, 2021. "Automation, Education, and Population: Dynamic Effects in an OLG Growth and Fertility Model," CEF.UP Working Papers 2102, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Arthur Jacobs & Freddy Heylen, 2021. "Demographic change, secular stagnation and inequality: automation as a blessing?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 21/1030, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    population aging; automation; factor shares; endogenous technical change; endogenous labor supply;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • 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
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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