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The adoption of industrial robots in France makes manufacturing businesses more productive and profitable but at the expense of jobs, according to a recent paper presented by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, non-profit, non-partisan research organization in America.
In a paper titled "Competing with Robots: Firm-Level Evidence from France," economics professors Daron Acemoglu (MIT), Claire LeLarge (University of Paris Saclay), and Pascual Restrepo (Boston University) analyzed 55,390 French manufacturing firms to study the economic impact of robot adoption.
Data - Set - Companies - Robots - Researchers
Within that data set, 598 French companies deployed industrial robots between 2010 and 2015. The researchers found, as they expected, that firms adopting robots shed jobs as they became more profitable and productive. They also created jobs internally, but those gains were more than offset nationally by job losses among competitors who were unable to keep up with the early adopters.
"Overall, even though firms adopting robots expand their employment, the market-level implications of robot adoption are negative," the paper says.
Acemoglu - Restrepo - Analysis - US - Instance
In 2017, Acemoglu and Restrepo conducted a similar analysis in the US and found in that instance robots were depressing wages.
This latest research argues against the notion that automation technology will create more jobs than it will destroy. But the case isn't clear cut.
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