Robots: Positive or negative for EU employment?

May 29, 01:52 PM

Technological advancements continue to drive change in every industry. In a recent working paper co-written with Francesco Chiacchio and David Pichler, Bruegel research fellow Georgios Petropoulos has explored the impact of the increasing number of robots on employment and wages in Europe.

The introduction of robots constitutes only one industrial advance among many, and each automated technology has different impacts on employment. The impacts across social strata can also be disparate.

In this episode of ‘The Sound of Economics’, Georgios Petropoulos discusses the findings of his study, which focuses on six EU countries (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden) that account for 85% of robots in the EU market. Specifically this work sought to answer the question of whether robots have a positive or negative effect on EU employment and wages, and to place its conclusions in the context of other studies of automated technologies and their consequences for labour.

The research pertinent to this podcast can be found in our publication: ‘The impact of industrial robots on EU employment and wages: A local labour market approach’. Meanwhile, Georgios Petropoulos has previously detailed the specifics of the growing presence of robots in EU industries in a Bruegel blog post.

He has also written an article questioning whether we understand the impact of artificial intelligence on employment. Elsewhere, a number of Bruegel scholars have collaborated on our Blueprint book of research: ‘Remaking Europe: the new manufacturing as an engine for growth’. This comprehensive study looks at how well European firms are responding to new opportunities for growth, and in which global value chains they are developing new activities.