330 Wirtschaft 339 Makroökonomie und verwandte Themen
We analyze the long-run growth effects of automation in the canonical overlapping
generations framework. While automation implies constant returns to capital within
this model class (even in the absence of technological progress), we show that it does
not have the potential to lead to positive long-growth. The reason is that automation
suppresses wages, which are the only source of investment because of the demographic
structure of the overlapping generations model. This result stands in sharp contrast to
the effects of automation in the representative agent setting, where positive long-run
growth is feasible because agents can invest out of their wage income and out of their
asset income. We also analyze the effects of a robot tax that has featured prominently
in the policy debate on automation and show that it could raise the capital stock and
per capita output at the steady state. However, the robot tax cannot induce a takeoff
toward positive long-run growth.
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