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Automation, stagnation, and the implications of a robot tax

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  • Gasteiger, Emanuel
  • Prettner, Klaus

Abstract

We assess the long-run growth effects of automation in the overlapping generations framework. Although automation implies constant returns to capital and, thus, an AK production side of the economy, positive long-run growth does not emerge. The reason is that automation suppresses wage income, which is the only source of investment in the overlapping generations model. Our result stands in sharp contrast to the representative agent setting with automation, where sustained long-run growth is possible even without technological progress. Our analysis therefore provides a cautionary tale that the underlying modeling structure of saving/investment decisions matters for the derived economic impact of automation. In addition, we show that a robot tax has the potential to raise per capita output and welfare at the steady state. However, it cannot induce a takeoff toward positive long-run growth.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuweco:022020
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Abeliansky, Ana & Prettner, Klaus, 2017. "Automation and demographic change," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 310, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Ana Lucia Abeliansky & Klaus Prettner, 2021. "Population Growth and Automation Density: Theory and CrossCountry Evidence," VID Working Papers 2102, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
    4. Stähler, Nikolai, 2021. "The Impact of Aging and Automation on the Macroeconomy and Inequality," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    5. Prettner, Klaus, 2023. "Stagnant wages in the face of rising labor productivity: The potential role of industrial robots," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(PD).
    6. Stephen J. DeCanio, 2022. "Simple efficiency-distribution models of production, with an application to robotics," SN Business & Economics, Springer, vol. 2(8), pages 1-16, August.
    7. Xiaomeng Zhang & Theodore Palivos & Xiangbo Liu, 2022. "Aging and automation in economies with search frictions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 621-642, April.
    8. Orlando Gomes, 2021. "Growth theory under heterogeneous heuristic behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 533-571, April.
    9. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "The lost race against the machine: Automation, education and inequality in an R&D-based growth model," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 08-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    10. Huang, Xu & Hu, Yan & Dong, Zhiqiang, 2019. "The macroeconomic consequences of artificial intelligence: A theoretical framework," Economics Discussion Papers 2019-48, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    11. John Gilbert & Onur A. Koska & Reza Oladi, 2022. "Labor‐eliminating technology, wage inequality, and trade protectionism," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 24(6), pages 1249-1265, December.
    12. Oscar Afonso & Rosa Forte, 2023. "How powerful are fiscal and monetary policies in a directed technical change model with humans and robots?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 3008-3032, July.
    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

    Automation; robot taxes; stagnation; economic growth; fiscal policy;
    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
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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