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Keywords:automation OR Automation 

Working Paper
Occupational Switching During the Second Industrial Revolution

During the Second Industrial Revolution, in the late nineteenth century, the proliferation of automation technologies coincided with substantial job creation but also a “hollowing out” of middle-skilled job opportunities, which historically offered reliable paths to prosperity. We use recently linked U.S. census data to document three main facts: (i) declining demand for middle-skilled labor in manufacturing corresponded to greater reallocation of workers into comparatively less-skilled occupations; (ii) older workers were more likely to switch to unskilled physical labor; (iii) younger ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2024-01

Discussion Paper
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 ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200304a

Journal Article
Workers' Shrinking Share of the Pie

Features: {{p}} Economists have advanced a wide variety of explanations for why workers' share of overall income has been going down
Econ Focus , Issue 2Q-3Q , Pages 14-17

Newsletter
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.
Page One Economics Newsletter

Working Paper
Automation, Market Concentration, and the Labor Share

Since the early 2000s, a rising share of production has been concentrated in a small number of superstar firms. We argue that the rise of automation technologies and the cross-sectional variation of robot use rates have contributed to the increases in industrial concentration. Motivated by empirical evidence, we build a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms, endogenous automation decisions, and variable markups. Firms choose between two types of technologies, one uses workers only and the other uses both workers and robots subject to an idiosyncratic fixed cost of robot ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2022-05

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2019-17

Discussion Paper
“Forced Automation” by COVID-19? Early Trends from Current Population Survey Data

This empirical study evaluates whether COVID-19 and the threat of future pandemics has expedited the process of automation in the U.S. The results suggest that the pandemic displaced more workers in automatable occupations, putting them at a greater risk of being permanently automated. The automatable jobs that are more vulnerable to the pandemic include jobs that do not permit remote work, have a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, or are in the most affected sectors. While most of the job losses during the pandemic are expected to be temporary, a replication of the analysis for the Great ...
Community Affairs Discussion Paper

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-13

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.
On the Economy

Working Paper
Can Pandemic-Induced Job Uncertainty Stimulate Automation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the future of work. The pandemic may become recurrent, necessitating repeated adoptions of social distancing measures (voluntary or mandatory), creating substantial uncertainty about worker productivity. But robots are not susceptible to the virus. Thus, pandemic-induced job uncertainty may boost the incentive for automation. However, elevated uncertainty also reduces aggregate demand and reduces the value of new investment in automation. We assess the importance of automation in driving business cycle dynamics following an increase in job ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-19

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