Industrial Robots, Workers' Safety, and Health

47 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020

See all articles by Rania Gihleb

Rania Gihleb

University of Pittsburgh

Osea Giuntella

University of Oxford

Luca Stella

Bocconi University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Tianyi Wang

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between the adoption of industrial robots and workplace injuries using data from the United States (US) and Germany. Our empirical analyses, based on establishment-level data for the US, suggest that a one standard deviation increase in robot exposure reduces work-related injuries by approximately 16%. These results are driven by manufacturing firms (-28%), while we detect no impact on sectors that were less exposed to industrial robots.We also show that the US counties that are more exposed to robot penetration experience a significant increase in drug- or alcohol-related deaths and mental health problems, consistent with the extant evidence of negative effects on labor market outcomes in the US. Employing individual longitudinal data from Germany, we exploit within-individual changes in robot exposure and document similar effects on job physical intensity (-4%) and disability (-5%), but no evidence of significant effects on mental health and work and life satisfaction, consistent with the lack of significant impacts of robot penetration on labor market outcomes in Germany.

Keywords: work-related health risks, robot-exposure

JEL Classification: I10, J0

Suggested Citation

Gihleb, Rania and Giuntella, Osea and Stella, Luca and Wang, Tianyi, Industrial Robots, Workers' Safety, and Health. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13672, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3691385

Rania Gihleb (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Osea Giuntella

University of Oxford ( email )

No Address Available

Luca Stella

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Tianyi Wang

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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