Robot Production and Human Reproduction. Assessing the Role of Changing Labour Markets on Fertility in Europe.

Anna Matysiak, University of Warsaw
Daniela Bellani , University of Florence
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

The concern that robots will take over our jobs has intensified in the advanced economies where robot adoption in production has tripled since the mid-1990s. The effects of robot adoption on overall employment are not yet clear, but robots certainly increase disparities in labour market opportunities between the highly- and the low-to-medium skilled. They may also have consequences for fertility as they affect partners’ earning opportunities and division of unpaid labour. We address this issue by linking regional level data from Eurostat (NUTS-2) on fertility and employment structures by industry with data on robot adoption by industry from International Federation of Robotics. We employ multi-level models for longitudinal data with the within-region, across-region within-country and between country decomposition to estimate robot effects net of the between-region and between –country variation. We also examine whether (and which) employment policies and gender norms alleviate the impact of automation on childbearing.

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 Presented in Session 125. Labour Market Conditions and Fertility