Is the Covid-19 pandemic fast-tracking automation in developing countries? Evidence from Colombia


  • BIS Working Papers


  • This paper assesses whether the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated automation in developingcountries. We studied the case of Colombia, a country with low R&D and productivity andwith high labor informality and unemployment. We estimated event-study models to assessthe differential effect of the pandemic on job openings and salaried employment by thepotential degree of automation of each occupation. Our results suggest that both vacanciesand salaried employment fell more in highly automatable occupations during the pandemicand have since experienced a slower recovery. The effect of the pandemic on automation ismostly driven by sectors that were affected by mobility restrictions. We also foundheterogeneous effects by age and gender. The acceleration of automation is mainly affectingthe labor market for females and individuals over the age of 40. Finally, we explored thedifferential effect on occupations with wages around the minimum wage. We found thatoccupations with wages close to the minimum wage exhibit the highest effect, especially atthe onset of the pandemic.

fecha de publicación

  • 2022

Líneas de investigación

  • Automation
  • Employment
  • Pandemic
  • Vacancies


  • 1048