Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How productive are robots?

THIS week's print edition has a wonderful special report on robotics, which I highly recommend. It includes this fascinating graphic:


There is an enormous difference in the intensity with which robots are used in the manufacturing sectors of different economies. As the chapter in question points out, this difference can partly be explained by the composition of the manufacturing sector; robots are used most intensively in car manufacturing, and so economies that devote a larger share of manufacturing resources to car production will use more robots.

Still, it's interesting to think about the implications for labour markets. Economist David Autor has noted that Nissan relies heavily on robots when producing cars in Japan but much less so when making similar models in India, the difference being the huge gap in labour...Continue reading

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