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

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  • Andreas Irmen

    (Department of Economics and Management, Université du Luxembourg)

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. The incentive to automate is stronger if wages are higher. Automation is shown to boost the aggregate demand for labor if and only if the incentives to automate are strong enough and to reduce the labor share. These predictions obtain even though automation is labor-augmenting in the reduced-form production function. Population aging due to a higher longevity or a decline in fertility may strengthen or weaken the incentives to automate. Irrespective of its source, population aging is predicted to increase the growth rate of per-capita GDP in the short and in the long run. The short-run effect of higher longevity on the labor share is positive whereas the effect of a declining fertility is negative. In the long run, population aging reduces the labor share.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Irmen, 2020. "Automation, Growth, an Factor Shares in the Era of Population Aging," DEM Discussion Paper Series 20-15, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:luc:wpaper:20-15
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    Cited by:

    1. Chia‐Hui Lu, 2023. "The macroeconomic impact of automation: Applications to elderly care," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(4), pages 674-695, October.
    2. Stähler, Nikolai, 2021. "The Impact of Aging and Automation on the Macroeconomy and Inequality," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    3. Sasaki, Hiroaki, 2023. "Growth with automation capital and declining population," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 222(C).
    4. Burkhard Heer & Andreas Irmen & Bernd Süssmuth, 2023. "Explaining the decline in the US labor share: taxation and automation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 30(6), pages 1481-1528, December.
    5. Iong, Ka-Kit & Irmen, Andreas, 2021. "The supply of hours worked and fluctuations between growth regimes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    6. 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.
    7. Wang, Linhui & Cao, Zhanglu & Dong, Zhiqing, 2023. "Are artificial intelligence dividends evenly distributed between profits and wages? Evidence from the private enterprise survey data in China," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 342-356.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.

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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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