Firm-Level Automation: Evidence from the Netherlands

James Bessen, Maarten Goos, Anna Salomons, and Wiljan van den Berge

Studying firm-level adjustments is important for understanding the economic effects of workplace automation. So far, emerging firm-level evidence is focused on robotics and the manufacturing sector. In this paper, we document that the adoption of automation technologies extends beyond manufacturing firms. We identify firm-level automation events and show that automating firms experience faster employment and revenue growth than do non-automating firms. However, around automation events themselves, employment growth slows markedly. Notably, we find that these effects are similar for manufacturing and non-manufacturing firms, suggesting that an increasing diffusion of automation technology has important consequences for firms and their workers.

AEA Papers and Proceedings, 110: 389-93.