What does labour productivity tell us about automation in the automotive industry ?


International Seminar in English

Vendredi 1 Décembre 2023, 14:00 - 17:00 CET


Benjamin Ferschli (University of Oxford, Weizenbaum-Institut)

Disponible sous peu - Available shortly


This presentation estimates the effects automation and sectoral concentration have had on labour-productivity in the automotive and manufacturing sectors of 26 OECD countries between 2010 and 2019. It thereby extends evidence on two potential origins of a recently proclaimed productivity growth-slowdown (Productivity-Paradox): 1. doubts regarding the productivity enhancing effects of new technologies as well as 2. the potentially stagnation-inducing effects of increasing monopolisation.

These results are used to contextualise debates on automation and the future of manufacturing work. The paper draws the severity of claims of labour-productivity growth stagnation into question, for the manufacturing sectors of OECD economies. It also shows that while industrial robot-use has indeed significantly increased over the past decade, its development does not indicate revolutionary breaks and remains highly segmented between countries and sectors. Sectoral concentration appears largely steady and at very high levels, in particular in the automotive sector. The inferential analysis shows that while robot-use and sectoral concentration are significant factors in explaining manufacturing labour-productivities, they remain partial determinants. The analysis also shows diametrically opposed effects for the automotive and manufacturing sector. In explaining these counter-intuitive results, the paper concludes by arguing that more than automation and the use of robots, structural developments of industrial production have driven the most significant changes in manufacturing work and employment in the previous decade. Limitations, follow-up questions, and further research avenues are suggested.


Key words: Automation, Stagnation, Productivity, Robots, Automotive sector, Manufacturing, Sectoral Concentration


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Sujet: Gerpisa seminar
Heure: 1 déc. 2023 02:00 PM Paris

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