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Automation, Employment, and Wages: Is This Time Different? - Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz at the Diginomics Brownbag Seminar

Time and place: 23.01.2020 from 12:15 bis 13:45 Uhr, room F4090, WiWi2 building.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz, ZEW Mannheim and University of Heidelberg.

Title: Automation, Employment, and Wages: Is This Time Different?

On Thursday, 23.01.2020, the Diginomics group is pleased to welcome Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz with a lecture on "Automation, Employment, and Wages: Is This Time Different?" at the Brownbag Seminar. Melanie Arntz is deputy of ZEW's Research Department “Labour Markets and Human Resources” and Leibniz Professor of Labour Economics at the University of Heidelberg. Her research focusses on the question how changing labour market conditions such as an increasing digitalization of work tasks and the proceeding international division of production processes affects labour markets and individuals.

A summary of the work that Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz will present in the Brownbag Seminar can be found below, a detailed CV of the lecturer can be found here.

Abstract. Robotics, artificial intelligence, and other recent technological advances allow machines to replace workers in an increasing range of tasks. While many economists argue that this time is no different from past technological revolutions that did not spark mass unemployment, public alarmists now fear the end of work. Yet, this is a false dichotomy, as new  technologies potentially give rise to labor-replacing as well as complementing effects (Acemoglu and Restrepo, 2018a). Based on a theoretical framework that allows for both scenarios, we estimate the effect of adopting cutting-edge automation technologies on the German labor market using information from a new firm survey. We find that the net employment effect of such technologies in Germany is positive but small, masking large structural shifts across occupations and sectors. Moreover, in contrast to widespread perceptions, cutting-edge technologies do not substitute, but complement workers on net, while it is the more mature automation technologies that substitute the most for labor.