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Investment in Digital Technologies and Firms' Labor Demand

14 febbraio 2024
2:00 pm
San Francesco Complex - classroom 1

The seminar focuses on the effects of investment in robots and other 4IR digital technologies (specifically big data, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and cybersecurity) on firm employment, firms' training and firms’ hiring strategies using a comprehensive and representative survey conducted in Italy in 2015 and 2018. The empirical strategy allows us to identify the causal effects of the new technologies by combining the predetermined composition of employment at the firm level with the exogenous technological progress in advanced digital technologies occurring at the global level. The main results from the empirical analysis tell different stories about the impact of investment in robots and 4IR digital technologies. Robotics investment does not significantly affect employment levels, but influences the composition of contracts. Investment in 4IR digital technologies, on the other hand, has a positive effect on firms' employment and their propensity to hire skilled workers in the future. Investment in 4IR digital technologies is also conducive to investment in (especially IT-related) training, and to a lower reliance on temporary workers and intermediation agencies. These results show the coexistence of displacement and reinstatement effects at the firm level.


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Andrea Fracasso, University of Trento