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Robots and Wages: A Meta-Analysis

Anne Jurkat, Rainer Klump and Florian Schneider

EconStor Preprints from ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Abstract: The empirical evidence on how industrial robots affect employment and wages is very mixed. Our meta-study helps to uncover the potentially true effect of industrial robots on labor market outcomes and to identify drivers of the heterogeneous empirical results. By means of a systematic literature research, we collected 53 papers containing 2143 estimations for the impact of robot adoption on wages. We observe only limited evidence for a publication bias in favor of negative results. The genuine overall effect of industrial robots on wages is close to zero and both statistically and economically insignificant. With regard to the drivers of heterogeneity, we find that more positive results are obtained if primary estimations a) include more countries in their sample, b) control for ICT capital, demographic developments, or tenure, c) focus on employees that remain employed in the same sector, d) consider only non-manufacturing industries, e) are specified in long differences, and f) come from a peer-reviewed journal article. More negative effects, in turn, are reported for primary estimations that are i) weighted, ii) aggregated at country level, iii) control for trade exposure, iv) and consider only manufacturing industries. We also find some evidence for skill-biased technological change. The magnitude of that effect is albeit small and less robust than one might expect in view of skill-biased technological change. We find little evidence for data dependence.

Keywords: robots; meta study; labor markets; wages; IFR; publication bias; job polarization; gender wage gap; skill bias (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 J23 J24 J31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-ict, nep-lma and nep-tid
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