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Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Work

Pegah Moradi

No e37cu, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Leading up to and following the 2016 American presidential election, “White working class” employment and political agency has become particularly salient. A simultaneous discussion on the role of automation in unemployment complicates the political narrative; by one estimate, 47% of American jobs are at risk of computerization (Frey and Osborne, 2013). This study analyzes how occupational automation corresponds with racial and ethnic demographics within occupational groups from both a historical and contemporary perspective. I find that throughout American industrialization, non-White and immigrant workers shifted to low-wage, unskilled work because of the political and social limitations imposed upon these groups. In the context of today’s AI-driven automation, I find that White workers are more heavily affected by automatability than other racial groups. Conversely, however, I found that the proportion of White workers in an occupation is negatively correlated with an occupation’s automatability. I conclude with suggestions for a susceptibility-based approach to predicting employment outcomes from AI-driven automation.

Date: 2019-04-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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DOI: 10.31219/

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