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VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Automated Away? Causes and Consequences of robots on Jobs and Families

Alternative title: Automatisert bort? Årsaker og konsekvenser av robotsiering på jobber og familier

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

A widely held view is that recent technological breakthroughs such as automation are shifting the comparative advantage away from human to machines. In the race between man and machines, many scholars and commentators worry that the automation of tasks will fundamentally change the labor market, with large consequences for affected workers and their families. However, despite the global concern to understand the labor market impacts of automation, we lack causal evidence on the impact of automation on workers and the distribution of consequences across workers. Another important unresolved question is whether the countervailing force of task and job creation is sufficiently large to offset the job destruction of robotization.Finally, there is surprisingly little focus on the complementary question of how the composition of the workforce itself affects the rate of technological change. Automated Away? aims to fill the above knowledge gaps and make inferences on the possible causal relationships between technological change and restructuring of firms and how the labor market and workers and their families are affected by such changes. The project moves beyond the current state of the art by combining highly suitable Norwegian register data at the individual- and area-levels with innovative use of well-established causal identification methods. The proposal is thematically divided into three work packages. In the first, we study the causal consequences of automation across the distribution of workers and how potential job destruction can be offset by the creation of new tasks. In the second, we focus directly on how new policies can be used to foster restructuring and recovery from job destruction following technological change. In the final work package, we ask the complementary question of how demographic trends and workforce composition are causes of automation itself, and investigate how different labor market policies can change the rate of technological change.

A widely held view is that recent technological breakthroughs such as automation are shifting the comparative advantage away from human to machines. In the race between man and machines, many scholars and commentators worry that the automation of tasks will fundamentally change the labor market, with large consequences for affected workers and their families. However, despite the global concern to understand the labor market impacts of automation, we lack causal evidence on the impact of automation on workers and the distribution of consequences across workers. Another important unresolved question is whether the countervailing force of task and job creation is sufficiently large to offset the job destruction of robotization.Finally, there is surprisingly little focus on the complementary question of how the composition of the workforce itself affects the rate of technological change. Automated Away? aims to fill the above knowledge gaps and make inferences on the possible causal relationships between technological change and restructuring of firms and how the labor market and workers and their families are affected by such changes. The project moves beyond the current state of the art by combining highly suitable Norwegian register data at the individual- and area-levels with innovative use of well-established causal identification methods. The proposal is thematically divided into three work packages. In the first, we study the causal consequences of automation across the distribution of workers and how potential job destruction can be offset by the creation of new tasks. In the second, we focus directly on how new policies can be used to foster restructuring and recovery from job destruction following technological change. In the final work package, we ask the complementary question of how demographic trends and workforce composition are causes of automation itself, and investigate how different labor market policies can change the rate of technological change.

Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon