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Source: Christos A. Makridis and Joo Hun Han, “Future of Work and Employee Empowerment: Evidence from a Decade of Technological Change,” NBER Working Paper 27181, January 2020.
Commentary: Extrapolating from the experience of past technological shifts, it’s clear that fears about looming technological change often persist even in the face of evidence about the positive benefits that come with new technologies. A new study adds to the body of evidence that such fears are overblown by leveraging detailed intellectual property and job satisfaction data between 2008 and 2018. It finds that for every percentage point increase in the rate of technological change within a county, that county’s workers are 0.24 percent more likely to say that they use their strengths at work. In other words, even in the most recent technological shift, innovation has tended to be labor-augmenting, allowing workers to better leverage their skills.