nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
ten papers chosen by
Fulvio Castellacci
Universitetet i Oslo

  1. Attraction or Repulsion? Testing Coagglomeration of Innovation between Firm and University By Rudkin , Simon; He, Ming; Chen, Yang
  2. Green potential of Europe's labour force: Relative share and possible skills imbalances By Lobsiger, Michael; Rutzer, Christian
  3. Endogenous life expectancy and R&D-based economic growth By Tscheuschner, Paul
  4. Are Unions Detrimental to Innovation? Theory and Evidence By Berton, Fabio; Dughera, Stefano; Ricci, Andrea
  5. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Work and Productivity: The Role of Firm Heterogeneity By Heyman, Fredrik; Norbäck, Pehr-Johan; Persson, Lars
  6. Inequality of opportunity, inequality of effort, and innovation By Alessandro Spiganti
  7. When Does it Pay Off to Learn a New Skill? Revealing the Complementary Benefit of Cross-Skilling By Stephany, Fabian
  8. Patent quality: Towards a Systematic Framework for Analysis and Measurement By Kyle Higham; Gaetan de Rassenfosse; Adam Jaffe
  9. The Effect of Industrial Robots on Workplace Safety By Ling Li; Perry Singleton
  10. Artificial Intelligence, Globalization, and Strategies for Economic Development By Anton Korinek; Joseph E. Stiglitz

  1. By: Rudkin , Simon (Swansea University); He, Ming (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University); Chen, Yang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
    Abstract: Agglomeration theory supports and existing findings confirm the geographical proximity of similar firms and spatial attraction of firms to universities. In addition to that, we are able to identify whether universities as one type of innovative units are attracted by firm-type innovators and the size of such attraction. Testing the bidirectional spatial innovation linkage contributes to the debate on firm- or university-led innovation. Using a large patent dataset from Shenzhen, the first innovation-led city in the People’s Republic of China, and employing a spatial point process analysis technique, underutilized in the literature that allows the bidirectional testing of coagglomeration, we find varying attraction distances between the same type of innovative units and across university–firm innovation pairs. Attractions are not only limited to identical technology fields but also generate coagglomerations across different technology fields of firms and universities. We find the attraction from firms to universities is more than that from universities to firms. Support is offered to the integration of firms into the university-led innovation clusters in science parks; firm innovation in patent fields like human necessities, physics, and electrical deserve more policy focus to benefit university research and innovation.
    Keywords: agglomeration; innovation; patents; spatial distribution; universities
    JEL: O31 R11 R12
    Date: 2020–02–25
  2. By: Lobsiger, Michael; Rutzer, Christian (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Using a data-driven methodology that allows to quantify the importance of different skills in performing green tasks, we estimate the green potential for 26 European countries. By green potential we mean the share of employed persons in occupations characterised by skills that are important for the exercise of green tasks to total employment. For the countries considered, we estimate a green potential between 7.1% and 16.8%, with the manufacturing and energy & construction sectors having above-average and the resources and services sectors below-average shares. We further examine the green potential with regard to a possible shortage of skilled workers by means of indicators that reflect different dimensions of skills shortages. Estimates of skills short ages related to the green potential reveal considerable heterogeneity among the investigated countries. Nevertheless, occupations with a high green potential are generally characterised by a tense skilled labour situation. Looking at four occupational groups, results reveal that the need for skilled workers with high green potential is particularly pronounced for managers and professionals, while being lower for technicians and smallest for craft & related trades workers.
    Keywords: green transition, labor market, skills shortage
    JEL: J23 J24 Q52
    Date: 2021–01–26
  3. By: Tscheuschner, Paul
    Abstract: We propose an overlapping generations framework in which life expectancyis determined endogenously by governmental health investments. As a novelty, we are able to examine the feedback effects between life expectancy and R&D-driven economic growth for the transitional dynamics. We find that i) higher survival induces economic growth through higher savings and higherlabor force participation; ii) longevity-induced reductions in fertility hampereconomic development; iii) the positive life expectancy effects of larger savingsand higher labor force participation outweigh the negative effect of a reductionin fertility, and iv) there exists a growth-maximizing size of the health caresector that might lie beyond what is observed in most countries. Altogether, the results support a rather optimistic view on the relationship between lifeexpectancy and economic growth and contribute to the debate surroundingrising health shares and economic development.
    Keywords: long-run growth,horizontal innovation,increasing life expectancy,welfare effects of changing longevity,size of health-care sectors
    JEL: I15 J11 J13 J17 O41
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Berton, Fabio (University of Turin); Dughera, Stefano (University Paris Ouest-Nanterre); Ricci, Andrea (INAPP – Institute for Public Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: In this paper we study the effect of unions on product and process innovation both theoretically and empirically. We propose a Cournot duopoly model where labor productivity is allowed to differ across unionized and non-unionized sectors due to collective voice mechanism. Our findings suggest that the traditional hold-up view whereby unions discourage innovation does not necessarily survive. When the voice effect is neither too strong nor too low, the unionized sector outperforms the market in terms of process innovation, while the effect on product innovation is strictly increasing in the voice power. Our empirical analysis of a large representative sample of Italian firms supports the model's predictions in both pooled OLS, fixed effects and IV.
    Keywords: innovation, labor-unions
    JEL: J51 O31
    Date: 2021–02
  5. By: Heyman, Fredrik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Norbäck, Pehr-Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Persson, Lars (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We propose a model with asymmetric firms where new technologies displace workers. We show that both leading (low-cost) firms and laggard (high-cost) firms increase productivity when automating but that only laggard firms hire more automation-susceptible workers. The reason for this asymmetry is that in laggard firms, the lower incentive to invest in new technologies implies a weaker displacement effect and thus that the output-expansion effect on labor demand dominates. Using novel firm-level automation workforce probabilities, which reveal the extent to which a firms’ workforce can be replaced by new AI and robotic technology and a new shiftshare instrument to address endogeneity, we find strong empirical evidence for these predictions in Swedish matched employer-employee data.
    Keywords: AI&R Technology; Automation; Job displacement; Firm Heterogeneity; Matched employer-employee data
    JEL: J70 L20 M50
    Date: 2021–02–09
  6. By: Alessandro Spiganti
    Abstract: Is inequality good or bad for innovation? I study an endogenous growth model with heterogeneous agents; due to credit frictions, inequalities in wealth lead to misallocation of talent. A more unequal reward scheme incentivises innovation in any given period, but it leads to a more unequal distribution of opportunities that may exacerbate the misallocation of talent in the next period. Empirically, I show that the flow of patents in a US state is negatively correlated with inequality of opportunity, but positively with inequality of effort; and that the elimination of state death taxes, as a proxy for an increase in the financial incentives towards risky activities, had a positive short-term but a negative longterm effect on the growth rate of patents.
    Keywords: Occupational Choices, Adverse Selection, Bequests, Theil's Index, Death Taxes
    JEL: D15 D53 D58 D82 H23 O31
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Stephany, Fabian
    Abstract: This work examines the economic benefits of learning a new skill from a different domain: cross-skilling. To assess this, a network of skills from the job profiles of 14,790 online freelancers is constructed. Based on this skill network, relationships between 3,480 different skills are revealed and marginal effects of learning a new skill can be calculated via workers’ wages. The results indicate that learning in-demand skills, such as popular programming languages, is beneficial in general, and that diverse skill sets tend to be profitable, too. However, the economic benefit of a new skill is individual, as it complements the existing skill bundle of each worker. As technological and social transformation is reshuffling jobs’ task profiles at a fast pace, the findings of this study help to clarify skill sets required for designing individual re-skilling pathways. This can help to increase employability and reduce labour market shortages.
    Date: 2021–02–10
  8. By: Kyle Higham (Hitotsubashi University); Gaetan de Rassenfosse (Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne); Adam Jaffe (Brandeis University, Queensland University of Technology, NBER)
    Abstract: The ‘quality’ of novel technological innovations is extremely variable, and the ability to measure innovation quality is essential to sensible, evidence-based policy. Patents, an often vital precursor to a commercialised innovation, share this heterogeneous quality distribution. A pertinent question then arises: How should we deï¬ ne and measure patent quality? Accepting that different parties have different views of, and different sets of terminologies for discussing this concept, we take a multi-dimensional view of patent quality in this work. We ï¬ rst test the consistency of popular post-grant outcomes that are often used as patent quality measures. Finding these measures to be generally inconsistent, we then use a raft of patent indicators available at the time of grant to dissect the characteristics of different post-grant outcomes. We ï¬ nd broad disagreement in the relative importance of individual characteristics between outcomes and, further, signiï¬ cant variation of the same across technologies within outcomes. We conclude that measurement of patent quality is highly sensitive to both the observable outcome selected and the technology type. Our ï¬ ndings bear concrete implications for scholarly research using patent data and policy discussions about patent quality.
    Keywords: Patent; Patent quality; Patent value; Patent citation; Patent policy; Technological impact
    JEL: O30 O34
    Date: 2021–02
  9. By: Ling Li (University of Wisconsin-Parkside); Perry Singleton (Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244)
    Abstract: This study measures the effect of industrial robots on workplace safety at the commuting zone level, exploiting potentially exogenous variation in robot exposure due to technological progress. Workplace safety is measured by workers involved in severe or fatal accidents inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. From 2000 to 2007, we find that one additional robot in exposure per 1,000 workers decreased the OSHA accident rate at the mean by 15.1 percent. We also find that robot exposure decreased OSHA violations and accidents more likely to be affected by robot penetration, specifically those involving machinery or electrical.
    Keywords: Industrial Robots, Automation, Workplace Safety, Occupational Safety
    JEL: J81 I10
    Date: 2021–02
  10. By: Anton Korinek; Joseph E. Stiglitz
    Abstract: Progress in artificial intelligence and related forms of automation technologies threatens to reverse the gains that developing countries and emerging markets have experienced from integrating into the world economy over the past half century, aggravating poverty and inequality. The new technologies have the tendency to be labor-saving, resource-saving, and to give rise to winner-takes-all dynamics that advantage developed countries. We analyze the economic forces behind these developments and describe economic policies that would mitigate the adverse effects on developing and emerging economies while leveraging the potential gains from technological advances. We also describe reforms to our global system of economic governance that would share the benefits of AI more widely with developing countries.
    JEL: F6 F63 O3 O32
    Date: 2021–02

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