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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.

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  • 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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    2. Sasaki, Hiroaki, 2021. "Automation Technology, Economic Growth, and Income Distribution in an Economy with Dynasties and Overlapping Generations," MPRA Paper 105446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Abeliansky, Ana & Prettner, Klaus, 2017. "Automation and demographic change," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 310, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. David E. Bloom & Victoria Y. Fan & Vadim Kufenko & Osondu Ogbuoji & Klaus Prettner & Gavin Yamey, 2021. "Going beyond GDP with a parsimonious indicator: inequality-adjusted healthy lifetime income," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 19(1), pages 1-1.
    6. Gries, Thomas & Naudé, Wim, 2020. "Artificial Intelligence, Income Distribution and Economic Growth," GLO Discussion Paper Series 632, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Abeliansky, Ana & Algur, Eda & Bloom, David E. & Prettner, Klaus, 2020. "The Future of Work: Challenges for Job Creation Due to Global Demographic Change and Automation," IZA Discussion Papers 12962, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Guimarães, Luis & Gil, Pedro, 2019. "Looking ahead at the effects of automation in an economy with matching frictions," MPRA Paper 96238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Innovation, automation, and inequality: Policy challenges in the race against the machine," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 249-265.
    10. Guimarães, Luis & Gil, Pedro, 2019. "Explaining the labor share: automation vs labor market institutions," MPRA Paper 92062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Gasteiger, Emanuel & Prettner, Klaus, 2020. "Automation, stagnation, and the implications of a robot tax," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 02/2020, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.
    12. Ana L. ABELIANSKY & Eda ALGUR & David E. BLOOM & Klaus PRETTNER, 2020. "The future of work: Meeting the global challenges of demographic change and automation," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 159(3), pages 285-306, September.
    13. Sasaki, Hiroaki & Hagiwara, Takefumi & Pham, Huong & Fukatani, Noriki & Ogawa, Shogo & Okahara, Naoto, 2021. "How Does Automation Affect Economic Growth and Income Distribution in a Two-Class Economy?," MPRA Paper 106481, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; automation; job search; technological progress; inequality; skill premium;
    All these keywords.

    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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