LabFam seminar series: The Adjustment of Labor Markets to Robots

Date: 13.04.2021, 13:00
Photo of Wolfgang Dauth

Speaker: Wolfgang Dauth, Assistant Professor of Empirical Regional and International Economics at the University of Würzburg and a Senior Researcher at the IAB.

We use detailed administrative data to study the adjustment of local labor markets to industrial robots in Germany. Robot exposure, as predicted by a shift-share variable, is associated with displacement effects in manufacturing, but those are fully offset by new jobs in services. The incidence mostly falls on young workers just entering the labor force. Automation is related to more stable employment within firms for incumbents, and this is driven by workers taking over new tasks in their original plants. Several measures indicate that those new jobs are of higher quality than the previous ones. Young workers also adapt their educational choices, and substitute away from vocational training towards colleges and universities. Finally, industrial robots have benefited workers in occupations with complementary tasks, such as managers or technical scientists.

About the speaker: Research Fellow at the IZA and a member of the board of associate editors of the Journal of Regional Science and of the committee for regional economics of the Verein für Socialpolitik. HIs research focuses on topics in applied microeconomics, which relate to important policy questions. His main research fields are labor, urban, and international economics.

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