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Don't Fear the Robots: Automatability and Job Satisfaction

Gorny, Paul M. and Woodard, Ritchie C. (2020): Don't Fear the Robots: Automatability and Job Satisfaction.

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We analyse the correlation between job satisfaction and automatability - the degree to which an occupation can be or is at risk of being replaced by computerised equipment. Using multiple survey datasets matched with various measures of automatability from the literature, we find that there is a negative and statistically significant correlation that is robust to controlling for worker and job characteristics. Depending on the dataset, a one standard deviation increase in automatability leads to a drop in job satisfaction of about 0.73% to 1.85% for the average worker. Unlike other studies, we provide evidence that it is not the fear of losing the job that mainly drives this result, but the fact that monotonicity and low perceived meaning of the job drive both automatability as well as low job satisfaction.

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