Daron Acemoglu: Machine vs. Man: The Labor Market in the Age of Robots


Monday, February 6, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Daron Acemoglu, Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics, MIT.

This talk will contrast the labor market implications of "enabling technologies", which increase worker productivity in existing tasks or enable them to perform new tasks, and "replacing technologies", which take over tasks previously performed by workers. While the first always increase wages and tend to increase employment, the latter could have the opposite effect.

The talk will argue that many of the recent technologies have been of the replacing kind, and then provide evidence that one prototypical type of replacing technologies, industrial robots, have had a negative effect on employment and wages in the US labor market.

About the speaker

Daron Acemoglu is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. His research interests include political economy, economic development, economic growth, technology, income and wage inequality, human capital and training, labor economics, and network economics.

Acemoglu is the author (with James Robinson) of Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity (Crown / Random House, 2012).

Acemoglu is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal (2005), awarded by the  American Economics Association to the economist under the age of 40  judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge, and the Nemmers Prize in Economics(2012) for "fundamental contributions to the understanding of political institutions, technical change and economic growth."

Acemoglu is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Turkish Academy of Science, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among other honors. He recently served as vice president of the American Economics Association (2016).

Learn more about Acemoglu's work

See also: Spring 2017