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How Many Jobs do Robots Really Replace?

By MIT News

May 8, 2020

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Economics professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University have determined that the replacement of human workers by robots is a tangible trend, although they say claims of total automation are overstated.

Their study found that adding one robot per 1,000 workers reduced the U.S. employment-to-population ratio by about 0.2% from 1990 to 2007, with some regions more affected than others.

Each additional robot replaced an average of 3.3 workers nationally, and reduced wages by about 0.4%, according to the study.

MIT's Daron Acemoglu and Boston University's Pascual Restrepo said U.S. robot deployment trails Europe's, with U.S. firms adding nearly one new robot per 1,000 workers from 1993 to 2007, while European firms introduced 1.6 new robots per 1,000 workers.

Said Acemoglu, the study “certainly won’t give any support to those who think robots are going to take all of our jobs, but it does imply that automation is a real force to be grappled with.”

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