Seminar: Automation, employment and income inequality

Course content

The class goes into depth about the consequences of new technologies – robots automation and AI, on the labor market. To what extent do these technologies affect the labor market differently than technological innovation that came before it? Students are encouraged to carry out their own empirical analysis


Topics could include

The effects of the implementation of a specific technology on inequality or unemployment

Historical parallels between new technologies today and previously

Gender differences in the effects of technology

The interplay between new technology and globalization

The interplay between education and new technology.

Job and Wage polarization

The labor share of GDP.


MSc programme in Economics


The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics.

Learning outcome


  • After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • Account for the most recent findings in the literature studying the interplay between technology and labor markets
  • Account for the basic assumptions of the theoretical models including: factor complementarity, labor share of GDP and task-based modelling.



  • After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • Analyze the consequences of new technology in a specific setting
  • Evaluate existing research and discuss its reliability.
  • Evaluate policy responses to rising inequality.



  • After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • Plan a research project
  • Design policy responses to adverse developments in labor markets.

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

Acemoglu and Autor, “Skills, tasks and technologies: implications for employment and earnings”, Handbook of labor economics, 2011

Acemoglu and Restrepo, “Robots and jobs: Evidence for US labor market”, Working Paper, 2017

Michaels, Natraj and Van Reenen “Has ICT polarized skill demand? Evidence from eleven countries over twenty-five years”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 2014

Jaimovich and Siu, “The trend is the cycle: Job polarization and jobless recoveries”, Working paper, 2012

Autor, Dorn and Hanson, “Untangling trade and technology: Evidence from local labour markets”, The economic Journal, 2015.

Dechezleprêtre, Hémous, Olsen and Zanella, “Automating Labor: Evidence from Firm-level patent data”, Working paper 2019

The class only relies on the mandatory classes in the Bachelor. A solid understanding of econometrics and long-run macroeconomics is an advantage.

BSc in Economics or similar

Periode/ frist:
Uge 6
- Kick-off møde af 2-4 timers varighed evt. opdelt i 2x2 timer. Mødet kan ikke afholdes tidligere end den angivne periode.

1. marts kl. 10.00
- Seneste dato for aflevering af aftaledokument/​projektbeskrivelse uploadet i Absalon. Der må gerne afleveres før denne dato, dog efter Kick-off mødet.

1.- 23. maj
- Afholdelse af præsentationer/​workshops af én eller flere hele eller halve dages varighed inden for den angivne periode*.

1. juni kl. 10.00
- Fælles eksamensdato for alle seminarer. Den studerende uploader sin seminaropgave i Digital Eksamens portalen til bedømmelse. Eksamensdatoen kan ikke ændres.

29. juni
- Seneste dato for bedømmers og censors indtastning af karakteren i Digital Eksamens portalen. Datoen kan ikke ændres.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Type of assessment details
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.

All aids allowed

for the project paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

and venue:
Go to "Remarks"

Exam and re-sits: Go to "Exam"
No restrictions
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Morten Graugaard Olsen   (3-7d777f5075737f7e3e7b853e747b)

Morten Graugaard Olsen (

Saved on the 28-04-2023

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