Robots, Automation, and Demographic Behavior

Osea Giuntella
Massimo Anelli, Bocconi University
Luca Stella, Bocconi University

Previous studies have shown that the declining labor-market opportunities of men induced by trade shocks to manufacturing industries can degrade men marriage-maket value, reduce fertility and contribute to the rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing. Recent evidence has also shown large negative effects of robots on employment and wages. These effects are distinct from the impact of trade and other labor market shocks (e.g. decline of routine jobs etc.). In this study, we examine the impact of exposure to robot penetration on the labor market opportunities of men and women. We find that in commuting zones that were more exposed to robots, the gender-wage gap declined and female employment increased. We then explored the impact of robots on marriage and fertility. We find that individuals were less likely to marry and also more likely to divorce. Furthermore, exposure to robots reduced the overall fertility rate, but increased the number of children born out of wedlock.

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 Presented in Session 58. Labor Market Change and Fertility