Automation: Theory, Evidence, and Outlook


  • NBER Working Papers


  • This article reviews the literature on automation and its impact on labor markets, wages, factor shares, and productivity. I first introduce the task model and explain why this framework offers a compelling way to think about recent labor market trends and the effects of automation technologies. The task model clarifies that automation technologies operate by substituting capital for labor in a widening range of tasks. This substitution reduces costs, creating a positive productivity effect, but also reduces employment opportunities for workers displaced from automated tasks, creating a negative displacement effect. I survey the empirical literature and conclude that there is wide qualitative support for the implications of task models and the displacement effects of automation. I conclude by discussing shortcomings of the existing literature and avenues for future research.

fecha de publicación

  • 2023


  • 31910