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Automation technologies: Long-term effects for Spanish industrial firms

Ester Camiña, Ángel Díaz-Chao and Joan Torrent-Sellens

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2020, vol. 151, issue C

Abstract: The introduction of automated technologies has raised concern about how this will transform the productivity and employment. This paper examines the link among automation technologies, productivity and employment in the long-term using a panel data analysis for 5511 Spanish industrial firms. We test four different hypothesis and we show the following results: (i) the use of automation technologies predicts some of the main firm consolidated results, such as sales, added value, exports, innovation and R&D activities; (ii) although the use of robotics and flexible production systems would boost long-term productivity, computer-aided design and manufacturing, and data-driven control would either slow down or do not explain productivity. In addition, the connection between four automation technologies in the explanation of productivity has not been confirmed; (iii) the use of industrial robots, data-driven control and flexible production systems have been consolidated as a labour-reducing factor; and (iv) despite this technological labour-reducing effect, the overall complementarity factor of four automation technologies and human capital enhance long-term trend of employment. Our results highlight the importance of the implementation of new management methods based on data-driven decision making and the generation of public policies to support automation skills.

Keywords: Automation; Digitization; Innovation; Productivity; Employment; Firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2019.119828

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