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Technological Unemployment Revisited: Automation in a Search and Matching Framework

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  • Cords, Dario
  • Prettner, Klaus

Abstract

Will low-skilled workers be replaced by automation? To answer this question, we set up a search and matching model that features two skill types of workers and includes automation capital as an additional production factor. Automation capital is a perfect substitute for low-skilled workers and an imperfect substitute for high-skilled workers. Using this type of model, we show that the accumulation of automation capital decreases the labor market tightness in the low-skilled labor market and increases the labor market tightness in the high-skilled labor market. This leads to a rising unemployment rate and falling wages of low-skilled workers and a falling unemployment rate and rising wages of high-skilled workers. In a cali- bration to German data, we show that one additional industrial robot causes a loss of 1.66 low-skilled manufacturing jobs, whereas the additional robot creates 3.42 high-skilled manufacturing jobs. Thus, overall employment even rises with automation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cords, Dario & Prettner, Klaus, 2019. "Technological Unemployment Revisited: Automation in a Search and Matching Framework," GLO Discussion Paper Series 308, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:308
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    Cited by:

    1. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Innovation, Automation, and Inequality: Policy Challenges in the Race against the Machine," GLO Discussion Paper Series 320, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Guimarães, Luis & Gil, Pedro, 2019. "Explaining the labor share: automation vs labor market institutions," MPRA Paper 92062, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; automation; job search; technological progress; inequality; skill premium;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • 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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