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Is modern technology responsible for joblessrecoveries?

Graetz, Georg and Michaels, Guy (2017) Is modern technology responsible for joblessrecoveries? CEP discussion paper (CEPDP1461). Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), London, UK.

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Abstract

Since the early 1990s, recoveries from recessions in the US have been plagued by weak employment growth. One possible explanation for these “jobless” recoveries is rooted in technological change: middle-skill jobs, often involving routine tasks, are lost during recessions, and the displaced workers take time to transition into other jobs (Jaimovich and Siu, 2014). But technological replacement of middle-skill workers is not unique to the US—it also takes place in other developed countries (Goos, Manning, and Salomons, 2014). So if jobless recoveries in the US are due to technology, we might expect to also see them elsewhere in the developed world. We test this possibility using data on recoveries from 71 recessions in 28 industries and 17 countries from 1970-2011. We find that though GDP recovered more slowly after recent recessions, employment did not. Industries that used more routine tasks, and those more exposed to robotization, did not recently experience slower employment recoveries. Finally, middle-skill employment did not recover more slowly after recent recessions, and this pattern was no different in routine-intensive industries. Taken together, this evidence suggests that technology is not causing jobless recoveries in developed countries outside the US.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E3 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles > E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J23 - Employment Determination; Job Creation; Demand for Labor; Self-Employment
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2017 16:04
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 04:00
Projects: CEP Labour Market Programme
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/69043

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