IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/glodps/471.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Robots and the origin of their labour-saving impact

Author

Listed:
  • Montobbio, Fabio
  • Staccioli, Jacopo
  • Virgillito, Maria Enrica
  • Vivarelli, Marco

Abstract

This paper investigates the presence of explicit labour-saving heuristics within robotic patents. It analyses innovative actors engaged in robotic technology and their economic environment (identity, location, industry), and identifies the technological fields particularly exposed to labour-saving innovations. It exploits advanced natural language processing and probabilistic topic modelling techniques on the universe of patent applications at the USPTO between 2009 and 2018, matched with ORBIS (Bureau van Dijk) firm-level dataset. The results show that labour-saving patent holders comprise not only robots producers, but also adopters. Consequently, labour-saving robotic patents appear along the entire supply chain. The paper shows that labour-saving innovations challenge manual activities (e.g. in the logistics sector), activities entailing social intelligence (e.g. in the healthcare sector) and cognitive skills (e.g. learning and predicting).

Suggested Citation

  • Montobbio, Fabio & Staccioli, Jacopo & Virgillito, Maria Enrica & Vivarelli, Marco, 2020. "Robots and the origin of their labour-saving impact," GLO Discussion Paper Series 471, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:471
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/213832/1/GLO-DP-0471.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Marco Vivarelli, 2014. "Innovation, Employment and Skills in Advanced and Developing Countries: A Survey of Economic Literature," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(1), pages 123-154.
    3. Eric J. Bartelsman & Martin Falk & Eva Hagsten & Michael Polder, 2019. "Productivity, technological innovations and broadband connectivity: firm-level evidence for ten European countries," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(1), pages 25-48, March.
    4. Dosi, Giovanni, 1997. "Opportunities, Incentives and the Collective Patterns of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1530-1547, September.
    5. Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2018. "Technological change and employment: is Europe ready for the challenge?," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 8(1), pages 13-32, March.
    6. Laura Barbieri & Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2019. "R&D, embodied technological change, and employment: evidence from Italian microdata," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 203-218.
    7. Giovanni Dosi & Richard Nelson, 2013. "The Evolution of Technologies: An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 3(1), pages 3-46, June.
    8. Frey, Carl Benedikt & Osborne, Michael A., 2017. "The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 254-280.
    9. David H. Autor, 2015. "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    10. Sarah Kaplan & Keyvan Vakili, 2015. "The double-edged sword of recombination in breakthrough innovation," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(10), pages 1435-1457, October.
    11. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    12. Patel, Pari & Pavitt, Keith, 1997. "The technological competencies of the world's largest firms: Complex and path-dependent, but not much variety," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 141-156, May.
    13. Van Roy, Vincent & Vértesy, Dániel & Vivarelli, Marco, 2018. "Technology and employment: Mass unemployment or job creation? Empirical evidence from European patenting firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1762-1776.
    14. Dosi, Giovanni & Piva, Mariacristina & Virgillito, Maria Enrica & Vivarelli, Marco, 2019. "Embodied and Disembodied Technological Change: The Sectoral Patterns of Job-Creation and Job-Destruction," IZA Discussion Papers 12408, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Angelo Moro & Matteo Rinaldini & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2019. "Control in the era of surveillance capitalism: an empirical investigation of Italian Industry 4.0 factories," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 347-360, September.
    16. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    17. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    18. Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2018. "AI as the next GPT: a Political-Economy Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 12721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Giovanni Dosi & Pierre Mohnen, 2019. "Innovation and employment: an introduction," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 45-49.
    20. Dechezleprêtre, Antoine & Hémous, David & olsen, morten & Zanella, carlo, 2019. "Automating Labor: Evidence from Firm-level Patent Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 14249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Iain M. Cockburn & Rebecca Henderson & Scott Stern, 2018. "The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Innovation," NBER Working Papers 24449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Ljubica Nedelkoska & Glenda Quintini, 2018. "Automation, skills use and training," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
    23. Iain M. Cockburn & Rebecca Henderson & Scott Stern, 2018. "The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Innovation: An Exploratory Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda, pages 115-146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Gianluca Capone & Franco Malerba & Richard R. Nelson & Luigi Orsenigo & Sidney G. Winter, 2019. "History friendly models: retrospective and future perspectives," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(1), pages 1-23, March.
    25. Valeria Cirillo & Matteo Rinaldini & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2018. "Workers' intervention authority in Italian 4.0 factories: autonomy and discretion," LEM Papers Series 2018/13, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    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. Lucrezia Fanti & Dario Guarascio & Massimo Moggi, 2020. "The development of AI and its impact on business models, organization and work," LEM Papers Series 2020/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Staccioli, Jacopo & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2020. "Back to the past: the historical roots of labour-saving automation," GLO Discussion Paper Series 721, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The present, past, and future of labor-saving technologies," LEM Papers Series 2020/37, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

    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. Giovanni Dosi & Mariacristina Piva & Maria Enrica Virgillito & Marco Vivarelli, 2019. "Embodied and disembodied technological change: the sectoral patterns of job-creation and job-destruction," LEM Papers Series 2019/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Giovanni Dosi & Mariacristina Piva & Maria Enrica Virgillito & Marco Vivarelli, 2019. "Technology and employment in a vertically connected economy: a model and an empirical test," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Politica Economica dipe0005, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    3. Van Roy, Vincent & Vértesy, Dániel & Vivarelli, Marco, 2018. "Technology and employment: Mass unemployment or job creation? Empirical evidence from European patenting firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1762-1776.
    4. Giovanni Dosi & Richard Nelson, 2013. "The Evolution of Technologies: An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 3(1), pages 3-46, June.
    5. Pietro Moncada-Paterno-Castello & Nicola Grassano, 2020. "The EU vs US corporate R&D intensity gap: Investigating key sectors and firms," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2020-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    6. Carlo Corradini & Pelin Demirel & Giuliana Battisti, 2016. "Technological diversification within UK’s small serial innovators," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 163-177, June.
    7. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R., 2010. "Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics as Evolutionary Processes," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 51-127, Elsevier.
    8. Camiña, Ester & Díaz-Chao, Ángel & Torrent-Sellens, Joan, 2020. "Automation technologies: Long-term effects for Spanish industrial firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    9. Ajay Agrawal & Joshua Gans & Avi Goldfarb, 2019. "Economic Policy for Artificial Intelligence," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 139-159.
    10. Ugur, Mehment & Vivarelli, Marco, 2020. "The role of innovation in industrial dynamics and productivity growth: a survey of the literature," GLO Discussion Paper Series 648, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Lucrezia Fanti & Dario Guarascio & Massimo Moggi, 2020. "The development of AI and its impact on business models, organization and work," LEM Papers Series 2020/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    12. Luigi Aldieri & Concetto Paolo Vinci, 2018. "Green Economy and Sustainable Development: The Economic Impact of Innovation on Employment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-11, October.
    13. Juan Máñez & María Rochina-Barrachina & Amparo Sanchis-Llopis & Juan Sanchis-Llopis, 2015. "The determinants of R&D persistence in SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 505-528, March.
    14. Vivarelli, Marco, 2018. "Globalisation, structural change and innovation in emerging economies: The impact on employment and skills," MERIT Working Papers 2018-037, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    15. Gabriele Pellegrino & Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2019. "Beyond R&D: the role of embodied technological change in affecting employment," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 1151-1171, September.
    16. Jürgen Essletzbichler & David L. Rigby, 2010. "Generalized Darwinism and Evolutionary Economic Geography," Chapters, in: Ron Boschma & Ron Martin (ed.), The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 2, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Flavio Calvino & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2018. "The Innovation†Employment Nexus: A Critical Survey Of Theory And Empirics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 83-117, February.
    18. Ugur, Mehmet & Vivarelli, Marco, 2020. "Innovation, firm survival and productivity: the state of the art," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 30334, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    19. Cassandro, Nicola & Centra, Marco & Esposito, Piero & Guarascio, Dario, 2020. "What drives employment-unemployment transitions? Evidence from Italian task-based data," GLO Discussion Paper Series 563, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The present, past, and future of labor-saving technologies," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Politica Economica dipe0013, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Robotic Patents; Labour-Saving Technology; Search Heuristics; Probabilistic Topic Models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis

    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:zbw:glodps:471. 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: (ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/glaboea.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 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.

    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.