With every technological advancement since the dawn of time, conventional wisdom has warned that technology and automation kills jobs. But robots aren’t the root cause of our problems. Although technology has always changed the nature of work, this week’s guests Heidi Shierholz and Daron Acemoglu argue that there is no evidence that it has led or will lead to overall increased joblessness, unemployment, or wage stagnation.

Heidi Shierholz is a Senior Economist and the Director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute. She was a Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor under President Obama from 2014 to 2017. Her research and insights on labor and employment policy, the effects of automation on the labor market, wage stagnation, inequality, and many other topics routinely shape policy proposals and inform economic news coverage. 

Twitter: @hshierholz

Daron Acemoglu is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the co-author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book ‘Why Nations Fail’, with James A. Robinson. In 2005, he received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to economists under forty judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. 

Twitter: @DrDaronAcemoglu

Further reading: 

The zombie robot argument lurches on (EPI): https://www.epi.org/publication/the-zombie-robot-argument-lurches-on-there-is-no-evidence-that-automation-leads-to-joblessness-or-inequality/

How robots became a scapegoat for the destruction of the working class (The Week): https://theweek.com/articles/837759/how-robots-became-scapegoat-destruction-working-class

Automation, Job Loss, and the Welfare State (Council on Foreign Relations): https://www.cfr.org/event/automation-job-loss-and-welfare-state

Robots, or automation, are not the problem (EPI): https://www.epi.org/publication/robots-or-automation-are-not-the-problem-too-little-worker-power-is/

Robots kill jobs. But they create jobs, too. (Brookings): https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/03/18/robots-kill-jobs-but-they-create-jobs-too/

Where Do Good Jobs Come From? (Project Syndicate): https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/automation-vs-job-creation-by-daron-acemoglu-2019-04?barrier=accesspaylog

The Revolution Need Not Be Automated (Project Syndicate): https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/ai-automation-labor-productivity-by-daron-acemoglu-and-pascual-restrepo-2019-03?barrier=accesspaylog