UNIONS AND PRO-LABOR groups around the world campaign for higher minimum wages and stronger job-protection laws. Last year, seven U.S. states including California and New York approved future increases in their hourly minimums to $12 or more. Two new economic studies say such changes can also help machines take jobs from human workers.
A working paper distributed by the National Bureau for Economic Research last month leans on historical data to suggest that minimum-wage hikes increase the chances some low-skilled workers will be replaced by machines. A separate study of 14 advanced economies found that the balance between humans and robots shifted away from humans after the introduction of new job-protection rules, like longer notice periods and increased severance payments.
The studies are timely because rapid advances in artificial intelligence have sparked a debate about their impact on jobs.