Perceptions about the impact of automation in the workplace

Matias Dodel, Gustavo S. Mesch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In recent years, there has been increasing social concern about the impact of automation on labor market outcomes, a phenomenon known as technological unemployment. Specific concerns revolve around the decline in wages and the increase in unemployment in occupations that are predominately routine. While there is insufficient evidence for massive unemployment scenarios, these concerns are critical due to their social and political implications. This study seeks to identify the correlates of perceptions of the effect of new technologies on job prospects, and on job loss and wage loss due to computerization. We conducted a secondary data analysis of the 2017 Pew Research Center American Trends Panel surveying the American population. Results indicate that individuals employed in jobs involving manual or physical tasks had more negative perceptions regarding the impact of technology on their careers, whereas those involved in managerial and data analysis tasks reported more positive views. Young employees with higher incomes and more education, who use the Internet almost constantly, expressed more positive views of technology’s impact on their jobs. Nonetheless, technological unemployment and under-employment were associated with age, income, race and negative perceptions regarding the intrusion of new digital technologies on the workplace. Findings provide evidence for the self-interest hypothesis concerning the effect of technology on low-income groups. Implications of the findings are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-680
    Number of pages16
    JournalInformation Communication and Society
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 15 Apr 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


    • Digital technologies
    • United States
    • job loss
    • perceived consequences
    • technological unemployment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Communication
    • Library and Information Sciences


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