Automation, Bargaining Power, and Labor Market Fluctuations
We argue that the threat of automation weakens workers' bargaining power in wage negotiations, dampening wage adjustments and amplifying unemployment fluctuations. We make this argument based on a quantitative business cycle model with labor market search frictions, generalized to incorporate automation decisions and estimated to fit U.S. time series. In the model, procyclical automation threats create real wage rigidity that amplify labor market fluctuations. We find that this automation mechanism is quantitatively important for explaining the large volatilities of unemployment and vacancies ...
Women Have Been Hit Hard by the Loss of Routine Jobs, Too
Technological change and globalization have caused a massive transformation in the U.S. economy. While creating new opportunities for many workers, these forces have eliminated millions of good-paying jobs, particularly routine jobs in the manufacturing sector. Indeed, a great deal of attention has focused on the consequences of the loss of blue-collar production jobs for prime‑age men. What is often overlooked, however, is that women have also been hit hard by the loss of routine jobs, particularly administrative support jobs—a type of routine work that has historically been largely ...
Hanging a Question Mark
Fed?s Harker Speaks at Management Science?s 65th Anniversary Conference. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick T. Harker gave remarks focusing on technology, automation, and the importance of human insight at Management Science?s 65th Anniversary Conference in Boston. ?In my experience, you run into trouble when you start thinking your model can do all the work,? he said.
The Resurgence of Universal Basic Income
Concerns about the effects of automation have brought an old policy proposal back into the limelight
Automation and the Minimum Wage
This issue explains how a higher mandated minimum wage may lead some firms to substitute capital for labor, likely reducing job opportunities.
Workplace Automation and Corporate Liquidity Policy
Using an occupational probability of computerization, we measure a firmâ€™s ability to replace labor with automated capital. Our evidence suggests that the potential to automate a workforce enhances operating flexibility, allowing firms to hold less precautionary cash. To provide evidence for this mechanism, we exploit the 2011â€“2012 Thailand hard drive crisis as an exogenous shock to the cost of automation. In addition, the negative relation between prospective automation and cash holdings is greater for firms with a lower expected cost of worker displacement and greater ...
Race and the Threat of Job Loss from Automation
Kristen Broady, fellow at Brookings Metro, discusses the vulnerability of Black and Hispanic workers to automation.
Adjusting to Robots: Worker-Level Evidence
We estimate the effect of industrial robots on employment, wages, and the composition of jobs in German labor markets between 1994 and 2014. We find that the adoption of industrial robots had no effect on total employment in local labor markets specializing in industries with high robot usage. Robot adoption led to job losses in manufacturing that were offset by gains in the business service sector. We analyze the impact on individual workers and find that robot adoption has not increased the risk of displacement for incumbent manufacturing workers. They stay with their original employer, and ...
The Covid-19 Pandemic Spurred Growth in Automation: What Does this Mean for Minority Workers?
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated trends in automation as many employers seek to save on labor costs amid widespread illness, increased worker leverage, and market pressures to onshore supply chains. While existing research has explored how automation may displace non-specialized jobs, there is typically less attention paid to how this displacement may interact with preexisting structural issues around racial inequality. This analysis updates that of a 2021 Brookings paper by the authors, finding that Black and Hispanic workers continue to be overrepresented in the 30 occupations with the ...
Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations
We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with occupation mobility, human capital accumulation and endogenous assignment of workers to tasks to quantitatively assess the aggregate impact of automation and other task-biased technological innovations. We extend recent quantitative general equilibrium Roy models to a setting with dynamic occupational choices and human capital accumulation. We provide a set of conditions for the problem of workers to be written in recursive form and provide a sharp characterization for the optimal mobility of individual workers and for the aggregate supply ...