Technology and jobs: A systematic literature review

Kerstin Hötte, Melline Somers, Angelos Theodorakopoulos

Research output: Preprint or Working paperPreprint


Does technological change destroy or create jobs? New technologies may replace human workers, but can simultaneously create jobs if workers are needed to use these technologies or if new economic activities emerge. Furthermore, technology-driven productivity growth may increase disposable income, stimulating a demand-induced expansion of employment. To synthesize the existing knowledge on this question, we systematically review the empirical literature on the past four decades of technological change and its impact on employment, distinguishing between five broad technology categories (ICT, Robots, Innovation, TFP-style, Other). Overall, we find across studies that the labor-displacing effect of technology appears to be more than offset by compensating mechanisms that create or reinstate labor. This holds for most types of technology, suggesting that previous anxieties over widespread technology-driven unemployment lack an empirical base, at least so far. Nevertheless, low-skill, production, and manufacturing workers have been adversely affected by technological change, and effective up- and reskilling strategies should remain at the forefront of policy making along with targeted social support systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages59
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2022


  • econ.GN
  • q-fin.EC


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