Robot Penetration and Task Changes

Author Name ARAI Kosuke (Keio University) / FUJIWARA Ippei (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / SHIROTA Toyoichiro (Hokkaido University)
Creation Date/NO. November 2021 21-E-093
Research Project Robots, Labor and the Macroeconomy
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This paper gauges the impacts of robots on task changes, in particular, identifying which tasks increased or decreased as robot penetration was promoted in Japan between 1980 and 2018 by using three unique datasets: the "Production and Shipments of Manipulators and Robots" produced by the Japan Robot Association; the administrative data of the "Basic Survey on Wage Structure" produced by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; and numerical indicators of occupational characteristics in the Japanese version of O-net by the Japan Institute of Labour Policy and Training. We first construct an index in which tasks have increased or decreased for each industry by using the Japanese version of five-category task scores a la Acemoglu and Autor (2011), computed from numerical indicators of occupational characteristics and the Basic Survey on Wage Structure. Then, we clarify how this index has been affected by robot stocks by industry, which is calculated from the Production and Shipments of Manipulators and Robots. The estimation result shows that as robot penetration increases, routine-manual tasks decrease while cognitive tasks relatively increase. A rise in robot penetration leads to a relative increase in employment in occupations requiring more different tasks to the occupations where tasks were lost, indicating that the process of robotization in Japan has caused the displacement effect.