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Robot arithmetic: new technology and wages

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  • Caselli, Francesco
  • Manning, Alan

Abstract

Existing economic models show how new technology can cause large changes in relative wages and inequality. But there are also claims, based largely on verbal expositions, that new technology can harm workers on average or even all workers. This paper shows – under plausible assumptions - that new technology is unlikely to cause wages for all workers to fall and will cause average wages to rise if the prices of investment goods fall relative to consumer goods (a condition supported by the data). We outline how results may change with different assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Caselli, Francesco & Manning, Alan, 2019. "Robot arithmetic: new technology and wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87371, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:87371
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/87371/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    2. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2018. "Robots at Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 753-768, December.
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    4. David Autor & David Dorn & Lawrence F Katz & Christina Patterson & John Van Reenen, 2020. "The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms [“Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 645-709.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Benjamin F. Jones & Charles I. Jones, 2018. "Artificial Intelligence and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda, pages 237-282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-1597, August.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2020. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(6), pages 2188-2244.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2018. "The Race between Man and Machine: Implications of Technology for Growth, Factor Shares, and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(6), pages 1488-1542, June.
    9. H. Uzawa, 1961. "Neutral Inventions and the Stability of Growth Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 117-124.
    10. Jan De Loecker & Jan Eeckhout & Gabriel Unger, 2020. "The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications [“Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 561-644.
    11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:61-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2017. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series dp-297, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    13. David H. Autor, 2015. "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Robot arithmetic: new technology and wages
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-10-24 12:47:35

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Rosario Crinò & Harald Fadinger & Gino Gancia, 2020. "Robot Imports and Firm-Level Outcomes," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_243, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    2. Luminita IONESCU & Maria ANDRONIE, 2019. "The Future of Jobs in the Digital World," International Conference on Economic Sciences and Business Administration, Spiru Haret University, vol. 5(1), pages 89-94, November.
    3. Caselli, Mauro & Fracasso, Andrea & Scicchitano, Sergio & Traverso, Silvio & Tundis, Enrico, 2021. "Stop worrying and love the robot: An activity-based approach to assess the impact of robotization on employment dynamics," GLO Discussion Paper Series 802, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • 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

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