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Robot Imports and Firm-Level Outcomes

Alessandra Bonfiglioli (), Rosario Crinò, Harald Fadinger and Gino Gancia ()

No 8741, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: We use French data over the 1994-2013 period to study how imports of industrial robots affect firm-level outcomes. Compared to other firms operating in the same 5-digit sector, robot importers are larger, more productive, and employ a higher share of managers and engineers. Over time, robot import occurs after periods of expansion in firm size, and is followed by improvements in efficiency and a fall in demand for labor. Guided by a simple model, we develop various empirical strategies to identify the causal effects of robot adoption. Our results suggest that, while demand shocks generate a positive correlation between robot imports and employment, exogenous changes in automation lead to job losses. We also find that robot imports increase productivity and the employment share of high-skill professions, but have a weak effect on total sales. The latter result suggests that productivity gains from automation may not be entirely passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices.

Keywords: automation; displacement; firms; robots (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J23 J24 O33 D22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-eur, nep-hrm, nep-lma and nep-tid
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