Robots, Meaning, and Self-Determination. A new GLO Discussion Paper by GLO Fellows Milena Nikolova, Femke Cnossen & Boris Nikolaev.

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that by deteriorating meaning and self-determination out of work, robotization will impact work-life beyond employment and wages.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 1191, 2022

Robots, Meaning, and Self-Determination – Download PDF
by Nikolova, Milena & Cnossen, Femke & Nikolaev, Boris

GLO Fellows Milena Nikolova, Femke Cnossen & Boris Nikolaev

Author Abstract: We are the first to examine the impact of robotization on work meaningfulness and autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which are key for motivation and human flourishing at work. Using worker-level data from 13 industries in 20 European countries and OLS and instrumental variables estimations, we find that industry-level robotization harms all work quality aspects except competence. We also examine the moderating role of routine and cognitive tasks, skills and education, and age and gender. While we do not find evidence of moderation concerning work meaningfulness in any of our models, noteworthy differences emerge for autonomy. For instance, workers with repetitive and monotonous tasks drive the negative effects of robotization on autonomy, while social tasks and working with computers – a tool that provides worker independence – help workers derive autonomy and competence in industries and jobs that adopt robots. In addition, robotization increases the competence perceptions of men. Our results highlight that by deteriorating the opportunities to derive meaning and self-determination out of work, robotization will impact the present and the future of work above and beyond its consequences for employment and wages.

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Vol. 36, Issue 1, January 2023: Meet the authors of 16 articles of this issue online on December 1, 2022 during the GLO Global Conference 2022.

Vol. 35, Issue 4, October 2022: Journal of Population Economics (JOPE): 15 articles
CiteScore of JOPE moves up from 3.9 (2020) to 6.5 (2021). LINK
Similar, its Impact Factor is now 4.7 (2021) after 2.8 (2020)! LINK

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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