Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, Mr. Richard Varghese, Vizhdan Boranova, Alice deChalendar, and Judith Wallenstein
We exploit a survey data set that contains information on how 11,000 workers across advanced and emerging market economies perceive the main forces shaping the future of work. In general, workers feel more positive than negative about automation, especially in emerging markets. We find that negative perceptions about automation are prevalent among workers who are older, poorer, more exposed to job volatility, and from countries with higher levels of robot penetration. Perceptions over automation are positively viewed by workers with higher levels of job satisfaction, higher educational attainment, and from countries with stronger labor protection. Workers with positive perceptions of automation also tend to respond that re-education and retraining will be needed to adapt to rapidly evolving skill demands. These workers expect governments to have a role in shaping the future of work through protection of labor and new forms of social benefits. The demand for protection and benefits is more significant among women and workers that have suffered job volatility.
The Spring-Summer 2019 issue of the IMF Research Perspectives explores how technology deals with old questions. Articles discuss the ways technological progress and the increased availability of data have helped in some areas, while presenting new challenges for analyzing various matters. The issue also includes an interview with Gita Gopinath, the new director of the IMF Research Department.
Mariya Brussevich, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, and Salma Khalid
Using individual level data on task composition at work for 30 advanced and emerging economies, we find that women, on average, perform more routine tasks than men?tasks that are more prone to automation. To quantify the impact on jobs, we relate data on task composition at work to occupation level estimates of probability of automation, controlling for a rich set of individual characteristics (e.g., education, age, literacy and numeracy skills). Our results indicate that female workers are at a significantly higher risk for displacement by automation than male workers, with 11 percent of the female workforce at high risk of being automated given the current state of technology, albeit with significant cross-country heterogeneity. The probability of automation is lower for younger cohorts of women, and for those in managerial positions.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues explores Japan’s experiences with past valued added tax (VAT) rate increases and discusses potential policy options to mitigate the economic impact of a third-rate increase. It assesses the impact on the Japanese economy and, where possible, provides some international context. Alongside possible mitigating policies, it also discusses the importance of policy commitment and credibility, and how they can influence the macroeconomic impact of tax rate changes. Carefully designing policy measures and communicating them clearly to the public are paramount to attenuate any negative outcomes in the short term. A simple, single-rate VAT would efficiently raise tax revenues and support the government’s objective of achieving fiscal consolidation in the medium term. Assuming underlying macroeconomic conditions are favorable, the October 2019 VAT rate increase could potentially have a smaller impact on the economy relative to that of 2014 for several reasons. In order to reduce policy uncertainty and alleviate any adverse impacts from the 2019 VAT rate increase, the authorities should clearly communicate the timing and content of associated mitigating measures.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper focuses on smart policies that can alleviate the short-term pain of technological disruption and pave the way for long-term gain. As computing power improves dramatically and more and more people around the world participate in the digital economy, care should be taken about how to devise policies that will allow us to fully exploit the digital revolution’s benefits while minimizing job dislocation. Digital technology will spread further, and efforts to ignore it or legislate against it will likely fail. Even with short-term dislocations, reorganizing the economy around revolutionary technologies generates huge long-term benefits. The digital revolution should be accepted and improved rather than ignored and repressed. Given the global reach of digital technology, and the risk of a race to the bottom, there is a need for policy cooperation like that of global financial markets and sea and air traffic. The history of earlier general-purpose technologies demonstrates that even with short-term dislocations, reorganizing the economy around revolutionary technologies generates huge long-term benefits.