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Robots, Labor Markets, and Family Behavior

Author

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  • Anelli, Massimo

    (Bocconi University)

  • Giuntella, Osea

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Stella, Luca

    (Free University of Berlin)

Abstract

Robots have radically changed the demand for skills and the role of workers in production at an unprecedented pace, with little scope for human capital adjustments. This has affected the job stability and the economic perspectives of large parts of the population in all industrialized countries. Recent evidence on the US labor market has shown negative effects of robots on employment and wages. In this study, we examine how exposure to robots and its consequences on job stability and economic uncertainty have affected individual demographic behavior. To establish this relationship, we use data from the American Community Survey and the International Federation of Robotics and we adopt an empirical strategy that relies on regional industry specialization before the advent of robots combined with the growth of robot adoption by industry. We first document the differential effect of robots on the labor market opportunities of men and women. We find that in regions that were more exposed to robots, the gender-income and labor-force-participation gaps declined. We then show that US regions affected by intense robot penetration experienced a decrease in new marriages, and an increase in both divorce and cohabitation. While there was no change in overall fertility rate, marital fertility declined, and there was an increase in out-of-wedlock births. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the changes in labor markets triggered by robot adoption increased uncertainty, reduced the relative marriage-market value of men, and the willingness to commit for the long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Anelli, Massimo & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2019. "Robots, Labor Markets, and Family Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 12820, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12820
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ilona Pavlenkova & Luca Alfieri & Jaan Masso, 2021. "Effects Of Automation On The Gender Pay Gap: The Case Of Estonia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 131, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    2. Osea Giuntella & Lorenzo Rotunno & Luca Stella, 2021. "Trade Shocks, Fertility, and Marital Behavior," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def100, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    3. Rania Gihleb & Osea Giuntella & Luca Stella & Tianyi Wang, 2020. "Industrial Robots, Workers’ Safety, and Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1107, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Bratsberg, Bernt & Kotsadam, Andreas & Walther, Selma, 2021. "Male Fertility: Facts, Distribution and Drivers of Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 14506, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Özcan, Berkay & Philipp, Julia, 2021. "Robots and the gender pay gap in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    6. Fabio Blasutto & Egor Kozlov, 2020. "(Changing) Marriage and Cohabitation Patterns in the US: do Divorce Laws Matter?," 2020 Papers pbl245, Job Market Papers.
    7. Fabio Blasutto, 2020. "Cohabitation vs Marriage: Mating Strategies by Education in the USA," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2020023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    automation; marriage market; divorce; fertility; cohabitation; gender;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • 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

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