nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2021‒11‒01
three papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Population Growth and Automation Density: Theory and CrossCountry Evidence By Ana Lucia Abeliansky; Klaus Prettner
  2. Demographic change, secular stagnation and inequality: automation as a blessing? By Arthur Jacobs; Freddy Heylen
  3. The Human Side of Structural Transformation By Tommaso Porzio; Federico Rossi; Gabriella V. Santangelo

  1. By: Ana Lucia Abeliansky; Klaus Prettner
    Abstract: We analyse the effects of declining population growth on automation. Theoretical considerations imply that countries with lower population growth introduce automation technologies faster than those with higher population growth. We test the theoretical implication on panel data for 60 countries over the time span 1993-2013. Regression estimates support the theoretical implication, suggesting that a one percent increase in population growth is associated with an approximately two percent reduction in the growth rate of robot density. Our results are robust to the inclusion of standard control variables, different estimation methods, dynamic specifications, and changes with respect measuring robot stocks.
    Keywords: Automation, Industrial Robots, Demographic Change, Declining Fertility
    Date: 2021–10
  2. By: Arthur Jacobs; Freddy Heylen (-)
    Abstract: We construct and calibrate an overlapping generations model incorporating demographic change and the possibility to automate the production process to test the hypothesis put forward by Acemoglu and Restrepo (2017). In line with their hypothesis, we find that ageing is a powerful force stimulating the adoption of automation technologies in OECD economies. Ageing-induced automation is found to soften the negative effects of labour scarcity and rising old-age dependency rates on per capita growth, but the compensation is incomplete. One important reason is that automated tasks are far from perfect substitutes for tasks executed by human labour. A second reason is that ageing-induced automation reduces the intensity of positive behavioural reactions to ageing in the form of retiring later and investing more in human capital. Moreover, the partial compensation comes at the price of rising wage and welfare inequality between individuals of different innate ability level and a fall in the net labour share of income. Compared to existing literature, we pay special attention to the theoretical and empirical foundations of the modelling of automation. Theoretically, our work is the first one testing this hypothesis that relates the approach to automation rigorously to the state-of the-art conception by Acemoglu and Restrepo (2018a; 2018b). Empirically, we tested and largely confirmed the validity of our approach and calibration by comparing model predictions of (changes in) automation density to actual data on robotization in a cross-country fashion.
    Keywords: Automation, Demographic change, Secular stagnation, Overlapping generations model, Robotics, Factor shares
    JEL: E22 E27 J11 J23 J24 J31
    Date: 2021–10
  3. By: Tommaso Porzio; Federico Rossi; Gabriella V. Santangelo
    Abstract: We document that nearly half of the global decline in agricultural employment during the 20th-century was driven by new cohorts entering the labor market. A newly compiled dataset of policy reforms supports an interpretation of these cohort effects as human capital. Through the lens of a model of frictional labor reallocation, we conclude that human capital growth, both as a mediating factor and as an independent driver, led to a sharp decline in the agricultural labor supply. This decline accounts, at fixed prices, for 40% of the decrease in agricultural employment. This aggregate effect is roughly halved in general equilibrium.
    JEL: J24 J43 J62 L16 O11 O14 O18 R23
    Date: 2021–10

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