ESA National Economic Panel Polls
Robots, artificial intelligence and the 'future of work' - October 2017
The public policy debate about the economic and social impact of disruptive technologies, transitioning industries and the 'future work' is finally gaining momentum in Australia.
This month, we wanted to ask the ESA's National Economic Panel (NEP) for their views on two related propositions - the same propositions put to the eminent US and European economists of the IGM Economic Experts Panel in September 2017. The only change we made was to focus our panellists on the impacts in Australia rather than in (all) 'advanced countries'.
Question A: "Holding labor market institutions and job training fixed, rising use of robots and artificial intelligence is likely to increase substantially the number of workers in Australia who are unemployed for long periods."
Question B: "Rising use of robots and artificial intelligence in Australia is likely to create benefits large enough that they could be used to compensate those workers who are substantially negatively affected for their lost wages."
** Question credits: this month's poll questions were adapted - from those put to the eminent US and European economists of the IGM Economic Experts Panel in September 2017 - to focus on the impacts in Australia rather than in all 'advanced countries'. For the results of the US IGM poll, see: http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/robots-and-artificial-intelligence-2 For the results of the European IGM poll see: http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/robots-and-artificial-intelligence.
Overviews of poll results by Professor Jeff Borland and Professor Jason Potts
Professor Jeff Borland
By Jeff Borland, Professor of Economics, The University of Melbourne
The impact of technological change on the Australian labour market and income distribution should be relatively limited, according to respondents to this poll.
Professor Jason Potts
By Jason Potts, Professor of Economics, RMIT University
The October 2017 poll conducted by the ESA replicated a US survey of economists on topical but broad policy issues, this one specifically in relation to labour markets and new technology. The two questions were about labour-capita substitution effects, and the distributional welfare consequences of continued innovation in robots and artificial intelligence.