Robots and Workers: Evidence from the Netherlands

Discussion Paper

Daron Acemoglu, Hans R.A. Koster, and Ceren Ozgen

March 2023

The authors estimate the effects of robot adoption on firm-level and worker-level outcomes in the Netherlands using a large employer-employee panel dataset spanning 2009–2020. Firm-level results confirm previous findings, with positive effects on value added and hours worked for robot-adopting firms and negative outcomes on competitors in the same industry. Worker-level results show that directly-affected workers (e.g., blue-collar workers performing routine or replaceable tasks) face lower earnings and employment rates, while other workers indirectly gain from robot adoption. The authors also find that the negative effects from competitors’ robot adoption load on directly-affected workers, while other workers benefit from this industry-level robot adoption. Overall, these results highlight the uneven effects of automation on the workforce.