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Competing with Robots: Firm-Level Evidence from France

Author

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  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Lelarge, Claire
  • Restrepo, Pascual

Abstract

Using several sources, we construct a data set of robot purchases by French manufacturing firms and study the firm-level implications of robot adoption. Out of 55,390 firms in our sample, 598 have adopted robots between 2010 and 2015, but these firms account for 20% of manufacturing employment and value added. Consistent with theory, robot adopters experience significant declines in labor share and the share of production workers in employment, and increases in value added and productivity. They expand their overall employment as well. However, this expansion comes at the expense of their competitors (as automation reduces their relative costs). We show that the overall impact of robot adoption on industry employment is negative. We further document that the impact of robots on overall labor share is greater than their firm-level effects because robot adopters are larger and grow faster than their competitors.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Lelarge, Claire & Restrepo, Pascual, 2020. "Competing with Robots: Firm-Level Evidence from France," CEPR Discussion Papers 14971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14971
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Aghion & Céline Antonin & Simon Bunel, 2019. "Artificial Intelligence, Growth and Employment: The Role of Policy," Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE), issue 510-511-5, pages 149-164.
    2. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2018. "Robots at Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 753-768, December.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2019. "Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
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    6. Wiljan van den Berge, 2019. "Automatic Reaction – What Happens to Workers at Firms that Automate?," CPB Discussion Paper 390, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    automation; Competition; Labor Share; Manufacturing; productivity; reallocation; robots; Tasks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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