This work assesses the effects of the increased diffusion of robots on employment in Italy, the second European country after Germany for robot use. These effects are a priori unclear, as robots could both substitute and complement human labour. The analysis covers the period between the early 1990s and 2016 and is carried out at both the local labour market level and at the worker level using administrative micro-data from a matched employer-employee dataset.
The results suggests that there is no evidence of a statistically significant negative effect of increased diffusion of robots use on total local employment, nor, at the individual level, on average employment and the wages of incumbent workers in manufacturing. Robotization may instead have contributed to the intersectoral reallocation of new workers, by increasing the share of the tertiary sector.
Published in 2021 in: Economia politica, v. 38, 2, pp. 739-795.