The Adjustment of Labor Markets to Robots

Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, Jens Suedekum, Nicole Woessner

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. (JEL: J24, O33, F16, R11)

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