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Political machinery : Did robots swing the 2016 US presidential election?

Frey, Carl Benedikt LU ; Berger, Thor LU and Chen, Chinchih (2018) In Oxford Review of Economic Policy 34(3). p.418-442
Abstract

Technological progress has created prosperity for mankind at large, yet it has always created winners and losers in the labour market. During the days of the British Industrial Revolution a sizeable share of the workforce was left worse off by almost any measure as it lost its jobs to technology. The result was a series of riots against machines. In similar fashion, robots have recently reduced employment and wages in US labour markets. Building on the intuition that voters who have lost out to technology are more likely to opt for radical political change, we examine if robots shaped the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Pitching technology against a host of alternative explanations, including offshoring and trade exposure,... (More)

Technological progress has created prosperity for mankind at large, yet it has always created winners and losers in the labour market. During the days of the British Industrial Revolution a sizeable share of the workforce was left worse off by almost any measure as it lost its jobs to technology. The result was a series of riots against machines. In similar fashion, robots have recently reduced employment and wages in US labour markets. Building on the intuition that voters who have lost out to technology are more likely to opt for radical political change, we examine if robots shaped the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Pitching technology against a host of alternative explanations, including offshoring and trade exposure, we document that the support for Donald Trump was significantly higher in local labour markets more exposed to the adoption of robots. A counterfactual analysis based on our estimates shows that Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would have swung in favour of Hillary Clinton if the exposure to robots had not increased in the immediate years leading up to the election, leaving the Democrats with a majority in the Electoral College.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Automation, Industrial revolution, Labour markets, Political economy, Technological change
in
Oxford Review of Economic Policy
volume
34
issue
3
pages
25 pages
publisher
Oxford University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85054844132
ISSN
0266-903X
DOI
10.1093/oxrep/gry007
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
092e87d2-7f17-4f4e-a57a-3df51964c8aa
date added to LUP
2018-11-13 12:07:03
date last changed
2021-10-06 02:46:51
@article{092e87d2-7f17-4f4e-a57a-3df51964c8aa,
  abstract     = {<p>Technological progress has created prosperity for mankind at large, yet it has always created winners and losers in the labour market. During the days of the British Industrial Revolution a sizeable share of the workforce was left worse off by almost any measure as it lost its jobs to technology. The result was a series of riots against machines. In similar fashion, robots have recently reduced employment and wages in US labour markets. Building on the intuition that voters who have lost out to technology are more likely to opt for radical political change, we examine if robots shaped the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Pitching technology against a host of alternative explanations, including offshoring and trade exposure, we document that the support for Donald Trump was significantly higher in local labour markets more exposed to the adoption of robots. A counterfactual analysis based on our estimates shows that Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would have swung in favour of Hillary Clinton if the exposure to robots had not increased in the immediate years leading up to the election, leaving the Democrats with a majority in the Electoral College.</p>},
  author       = {Frey, Carl Benedikt and Berger, Thor and Chen, Chinchih},
  issn         = {0266-903X},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {418--442},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {Oxford Review of Economic Policy},
  title        = {Political machinery : Did robots swing the 2016 US presidential election?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/gry007},
  doi          = {10.1093/oxrep/gry007},
  volume       = {34},
  year         = {2018},
}