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What Happens to Workers at Firms that Automate?

  • Series
  • Speaker
    Wiljan van den Berge (Utrecht University)
  • Field
    Empirical Microeconomics
  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, room 1.01
  • Date and time

    October 04, 2022
    15:30 - 16:30

We estimate the impact of firm-level automation on individual worker outcomes by combining Dutch micro-data with a direct measure of automation expenditures covering all private non-financial sector firms. Using a novel difference-in-differences event-study design leveraging lumpy investment, we find that automation increases the probability of incumbent workers separating from their employers. Workers experience a 5-year cumulative wage income loss of 9 percent of one year's earnings, driven by decreases in days worked. These adverse impacts of automation are larger in smaller firms, and for older and middle-educated workers. In contrast, no such losses are found for firms' investments in computers.