IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/25103.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Robots, Trade, and Luddism: A Sufficient Statistic Approach to Optimal Technology Regulation

Author

Listed:
  • Arnaud Costinot
  • Iván Werning

Abstract

Technological change, from the advent of robots to expanded trade opportunities, tends to create winners and losers. How should government policy respond? And how should the overall welfare impact of technological change on society be valued? We provide a general theory of optimal technology regulation in a second best world, with rich heterogeneity across households, linear taxes on the subset of firms affected by technological change, and a nonlinear tax on labor income. Our first results consist of three optimal tax formulas, with minimal structural assumptions, involving sufficient statistics that can be implemented using evidence on the distributional impact of new technologies, such as robots and trade. Our second result is a comparative static exercise illustrating that while distributional concerns create a rationale for non-zero taxes on robots and trade, the magnitude of these taxes may decrease as the process of automation and globalization deepens and inequality increases. Our final result shows that, despite limited tax instruments, technological progress is always welcome and valued in the same way as in a first best world.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Costinot & Iván Werning, 2018. "Robots, Trade, and Luddism: A Sufficient Statistic Approach to Optimal Technology Regulation," NBER Working Papers 25103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25103
    Note: EFG ITI PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w25103.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    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. Magee,Stephen P. & Brock,William A. & Young,Leslie, 1989. "Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521377003, October.
    4. Antràs, Pol & de Gortari, Alonso & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2017. "Globalization, inequality and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 387-412.
    5. Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2017. "Generalized Compensation Principle," NBER Working Papers 23509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Roger Guesnerie, 1998. "Peut-on toujours redistribuer les gains à la spécialisation et à l'échange ? Un retour en pointillé sur Ricardo et Heckscher-Ohlin," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 49(3), pages 555-579.
    7. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
    8. Denis Chetverikov & Bradley Larsen & Christopher Palmer, 2016. "IV Quantile Regression for Group‐Level Treatments, With an Application to the Distributional Effects of Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 809-833, March.
    9. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    10. Spector, David, 2001. "Is it possible to redistribute the gains from trade using income taxation?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 441-460, December.
    11. Ronald Findlay & Stanislaw Wellisz, 1982. "Endogenous Tariffs, the Political Economy of Trade Restrictions, and Welfare," NBER Chapters, in: Import Competition and Response, pages 223-244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ali Shourideh & Roozbeh Hosseini, 2017. "Inequality, Redistribution and Optimal Trade Policy," 2017 Meeting Papers 1553, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxation and the Superrich," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 12(1), pages 189-211, August.
    2. Pi, Jiancai & Fan, Yanwei, 2021. "The impact of robots on equilibrium unemployment of unionized workers," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 663-675.
    3. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "How Should Capital Be Taxed?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 812-846, September.
    4. José Mª Durán-Cabré & Julien Daubanes & Pierre-Yves Yanni & Xavier Oberson & Uwe Thuemmel, 2019. "The Taxation of Robots / La tributación de los robots / La tributació dels robots en sistemes de salut descentralitzats," IEB Reports ieb_report_2_2019, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Lihua Gu, 2021. "The Impact of Intelligent Manufacturing on Export Sophistication: Evidence from Industrial Robots," International Journal of Business and Management, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 14(12), pages 183-183, July.
    6. Cui, Xiaoyong & Gong, Liutang & Li, Wenjian, 2021. "Supply-side optimal capital taxation with endogenous wage inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    7. V. V. Chari & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2019. "Optimal Cooperative Taxation in the Global Economy," Staff Report 581, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Orhan Erem Atesagaoglu & Hakki Yazici, 2021. "Optimal Taxation of Capital in the Presence of Declining Labor Share," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 21/739, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Lyon, Spencer G. & Waugh, Michael E., 2018. "Redistributing the gains from trade through progressive taxation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 185-202.
    2. Thiemo Fetzer, 2019. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(11), pages 3849-3886, November.
    3. Pravin Krishna & Devashish Mitra, 2003. "Reciprocated Unilateralism in Trade Policy: An Interest-Group Approach," NBER Working Papers 9631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Direct or indirect tax instruments for redistribution: short-run versus long-run," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 503-518, March.
    5. Antràs, Pol & de Gortari, Alonso & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2017. "Globalization, inequality and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 387-412.
    6. Carroll, Daniel R. & Hur, Sewon, 2020. "On the heterogeneous welfare gains and losses from trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 1-16.
    7. Uwe Thuemmel, 2018. "Optimal Taxation of Robots," CESifo Working Paper Series 7317, CESifo.
    8. Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2017. "Generalized Compensation Principle," NBER Working Papers 23509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Keller, Wolfgang & Utar, Hale, 2016. "International Trade and Job Polarization: Evidence at the Worker-Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 11311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 1064-1093, September.
    11. Martimort, David & Verdier, Thierry, 2009. "International Trade with Domestic Regulation under Asymmetric Information: A Simple General Equilibrium Approach," IDEI Working Papers 223, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2010.
    12. Cole, Matthew T. & Lake, James & Zissimos, Ben, 2021. "Contesting an international trade agreement," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    13. Panagariya, Arvind & Rodrik, Dani, 1993. "Political-Economy Arguments for a Uniform Tariff," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 685-703, August.
    14. Wolfgang Lechthaler & Mariya Mileva, 2021. "The Dynamic And Distributional Aspects Of Import Tariffs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(1), pages 199-241, February.
    15. Handley, Kyle & Limão, Nuno, 2013. "Policy Uncertainty, Trade and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the U.S," CEPR Discussion Papers 9615, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. K. H. O'Rourke & R. Sinnott, 2001. "The Determinants of Individual Trade Policy Preferences: International Survey Evidence," Trinity Economics Papers 200110, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    17. Richard E. Baldwin, 2011. "Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as Building Blocks on the Path to Global Free Trade," Chapters, in: Miroslav N. Jovanović (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 2, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1999. "Multilateral trade negotiations, bilateral opportunism and the rules of GATT," Working papers 6, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    19. Theo S Eicher & Thomas Osang, 2000. "Politics and Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation"," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0004, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    20. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2009. "Explaining Agricultural Distortion Patterns : The Roles of Ideology, Inequality, Lobbying and Public Finance," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50299, World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.