Competing with Robots: Firm-Level Evidence from France

25 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2020

See all articles by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Claire Lelarge

Banque de France - Economic Study and Research Division; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Pascual Restrepo

Boston University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

Using several sources, we construct a data set of robot purchases by French manufacturing firms and study the firm-level implications of robot adoption. Out of 55,390 firms in our sample, 598 have adopted robots between 2010 and 2015, but these firms account for 20% of manufacturing employment and value added. Consistent with theory, robot adopters experience significant declines in labor share and the share of production workers in employment, and increases in value added and productivity. They expand their overall employment as well. However, this expansion comes at the expense of their competitors (as automation reduces their relative costs). We show that the overall impact of robot adoption on industry employment is negative. We further document that the impact of robots on overall labor share is greater than their firm-level effects because robot adopters are larger and grow faster than their competitors.

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Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Lelarge, Claire and Restrepo, Pascual, Competing with Robots: Firm-Level Evidence from France (February 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26738, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3535328

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Claire Lelarge

Banque de France - Economic Study and Research Division ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Pascual Restrepo

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

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