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Robots and Labor in the Service Sector: Evidence from Nursing Homes

Working Paper

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Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 63

February 2021

ahpp wp cvr 63

In one of the first studies of service sector robotics using establishment-level data, we study the impact of robots on staffing in Japanese nursing homes, using geographic variation in robot subsidies as an instrumental variable. We find that robot adoption increases employment by augmenting the number of care workers and nurses on flexible employment contracts, and decreases difficulty in staff retention. Robot adoption also reduces the monthly wages of regular nurses, consistent with reduced burden of care. Our findings suggest that the impact of robots may not be detrimental to labor and may remedy challenges posed by rapidly aging populations.

JEL Code: I11, J14, J23, O30,
Key words: Robots, jobs, nursing homes, automation, aging, healthcare

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AHPP Working Paper #63 Download pdf

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