Investment in Digital Technologies and Firms’ Labor Demand




Inizio: Nov 27 | 12:15 pm

Fine : Nov 27 | 01:45 pm

Lunch Seminars
digital technologies |
HumanTech |

Via Lambruschini, 4B 20156 Milano MI

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Lunch Seminar in presence

Building BL26/B – Room 0.19 (ground floor)
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering
Via R. Lambruschini, 4/B


Andrea Fracasso
University of Trento, Italy



Co-authors: Mauro Caselli, Edwin Fourrier-Nicolai, Sergio Scicchitano

The presentation focuses on the effects of investment in robots and other 4IR digital technologies (specifically big data, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and cybersecurity) on firm employment, firms’ training and firms’ hiring strategies using a comprehensive and representative survey conducted in Italy in 2015 and 2018.
The empirical strategy allows to identify the causal effects of the new technologies by combining the predetermined composition of employment at the firm level with the exogenous technological progress in advanced digital technologies occurring at the global level.
The main results from the empirical analysis tell different stories about the impact of investment in robots and 4IR digital technologies. Robotics investment does not significantly affect employment levels, but influences the composition of contracts. Investment in 4IR digital technologies, on the other hand, has a positive effect on firms’ employment and their propensity to hire skilled workers in the future.
Investment in 4IR digital technologies is also conducive to investment in (especially IT-related) training, and to a lower reliance on temporary workers and intermediation agencies. These results show the coexistence of displacement and reinstatement effects at the firm level.


Andrea Fracasso is professor of economics at the School of International Studies and Department of Economics and Management, and Vice Rector for Organisational and Resource Planning, at the University of Trento. He holds a PhD in international economics from the Graduate Institute in Geneva. He has solid expertise in empirical work on international economics, industrial dynamics, resource allocation, and agglomeration economies. In recent years he has gained relevant experience as policy advisor for the local government in Trento (2014-2018), as well as member of the Editorial Committee of the Festival of Economics. Since 2020, he has been serving as Monetary and Economic Expert for the European Parliament. He is a member of the CESifo Research Network.



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