[Vol.30 No.2] Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Automation Technology Adoption in South Korean Companies on Employment and Wages

Macro Economy
Automation Technology Wage Emplyment
Sora Jeong, Nakil Sung
Research Planning & Coordination Team(02-759-5490)

Author: Sora Jeong(University of Seoul), Nakil Sung(University of Seoul)

Recently, there has been renewed concern about the rapid spread of robots and artificial intelligence, raising fears that automation technology will replace human labor. This study analyzes the effects of the adoption of robots and artificial intelligence on employment and real wages in domestic companies over the period from 2017 to 2021, using data from the Statistics Korea's Survey of Business Activities. The results indicate that the employment growth rate of companies adopting robots was, on average, about 2% lower than that of other companies, confirming the labor-replacing effect of robots. In contrast, the effect of robot adoption on the growth rate of real wages was not statistically unambiguous. Although it cannot be ruled out that artificial intelligence may have increased the employment and real wage growth rates, this was not statistically clear as well. When the analysis was narrowed down to large companies with a workforce of 300 or more, the effects of the adoption of robots and artificial intelligence became more pronounced, confirming both the larger labor-replacing effect of robots and the positive effect on the growth rate of real wages. Based on these results, this study provides policy implications.

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