On the Employment Consequences of Automation and Offshoring: A Labor Market Sorting View
Lili Yan Ing, Gene M. Grossman (eds), Robots and AI: A New Economic Era. Routledge: London,
We argue that automation may make workers and firms more selective in matching their specialized skills and tasks. We call this phenomenon “core-biased technological change”, and wonder whether something similar could be relevant also for offshoring. Looking for evidence in occupational data for European industries, we find that automation increases workers’ and firms’ selectivity as captured by longer unemployment duration, less skill-task mismatch, and more concentration of specialized knowledge in specific tasks. This does not happen in the case of offshoring, though offshoring reinforces the effects of automation. We show that a labor market model with two-sided heterogeneity and search frictions can rationalize these empirical findings if automation strengthens while offshoring weakens the assortativity between workers’ skills and firms’ tasks in the production process, and automation and offshoring complement each other. Under these conditions, automation decreases employment and increases wage inequality whereas offshoring has opposite effects.
The Impact of Active Aggregate Demand on Utilisation-adjusted TFP
IWH Discussion Papers,
Non-clearing goods markets are an important driver of capacity utilisation and total factor productivity (TFP). The trade-off between goods prices and household search effort is central to goods market matching and therefore drives TFP over the business cycle. In this paper, I develop a New-Keynesian DSGE model with capital utilisation, worker effort, and expand it with goods market search-and-matching (SaM) to model non-clearing goods markets. I conduct a horse-race between the different capacity utilisation channels using Bayesian estimation and capacity utilisation survey data. Models that include goods market SaM improve the data fit, while the capital utilisation and worker effort channels are rendered less important compared to the literature. It follows that TFP fluctuations increase for demand and goods market mismatch shocks, while they decrease for technology shocks. This pattern increases as goods market frictions increase and as prices become stickier. The paper shows the importance of non-clearing goods markets in explaining the difference between technology and TFP over the business cycle.
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