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Automation job gains will be unevenly spread

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Subject

Impact of automation on productivity and jobs.

Significance

Rising use of robots and automation in industrialised economies is displacing workers but examining the broader trend rather than specific situations in one factory or industry suggests that the net effects on employment and wages is positive. Even within a specific site, the gains can be positive, depending on how demand responds to price movements and to the way robots are used.

Impacts

  • Hiring and firing of workers will increase as labour is reallocated across firms and sectors.
  • Net employment and wages will increase but sectoral shifts will create winners and losers; spillovers will also vary by country.
  • Job churn and technological stranding will increase political pressure for remedies to give individuals security and promote adaptability.
  • Services are ripe for adopting more capable robots, creating job opportunities and threats and reducing prices; new sectors may emerge.
  • In the long-term, artifical intelligence will likely transform the relationship between wealth creation and the nature of employment.
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