Their paper consists of the usual careful application of a model to data, in this case commuting zones, with a view to estimating the effect of robots on employment and wages. They conclude that each additional robot reduces local employment by 6.2 workers, and that an additional robot per thousand employees reduces area wages by a little less than 1 percent (relative to other zones with no such exposure). Aggregating cautiously, they calculate that each additional robot costs a loss of between 3 and 5.6 jobs nationally.
So far the number of jobs lost due to robots has been modest – between 360,000 and 670,000 in the US, out of a labor force of more than 160 million person. But robots are expected to be employed much more widely in the next twenty years, they say, with the world stock as much as quadrupling by 2025, in one study’s scenario of rapid diffusion. The harm to employment and wages could accelerate once robots exceed a critical level, they say, as spillover effects dampen demand for housing, retail, and services.The spillover effects include a decline in marriage rates, out of wedlock births and premature death rates among low skilled men. Each of these factors has important demographic effects which reduce the economic growth rate which further exasperates the impact of robots and globalization.