Robot Hubs: The Skewed Distribution of Robots in US Manufacturing
American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings,
We use establishment-level data from the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures to study the characteristics and geographic locations of investments in robots. We find that the distribution of robots is highly skewed across locations. Some locations, which we call Robot Hubs, have far more robots than one would expect even after accounting for industry and manufacturing employment. We characterize these Robot Hubs along several industry, demographic, and institutional dimensions. The presences of robot integrators, which specialize in helping manufacturers install robots, and of higher levels of union membership are positively correlated with being a Robot Hub.