Seminar: Automation, employment and income inequality Summer 2024 + Spring 2025

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.


Supplemented by an overall intended learning outcome outlined in the programme-specific curriculum

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


Timetable for spring semester:
Week 6
- Kick-off meeting of 2-4 hours duration possibly divided into 2x2 hours. The meeting cannot be held earlier than the specified period.

1 March at 10:00 a.m
- Latest date for submission of agreement document/​project description uploaded in Absalon. It is welcome to hand it in before this date, but after the Kick-off meeting.

1 - 23 May
- Holding presentations/​workshops of one or more full or half-day duration within the specified period*.

3 June at 10:00 a.m
- Common exam date for all seminars. The student uploads his seminar assignment in the Digital Exams portal for assessment. The exam date cannot be changed.

June 30
- Latest date for assessors and censors to enter the grade in the Digital Exams portal. The date cannot be changed.

Timetable for the summer block:

- Kick-off meeting in the second week of July
- Presentations in mid-August
- Submission deadline at the end of August

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
On-site written exam
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.

Exam registration requirements

Attendance in all  activities at the seminar as stated in the formal requrements in the Master curriculum and at the KUnet for  Seminars (UK)  and Seminars (DK) is required to participate in the exam.



All aids allowed

for the project paper.

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

Use of AI tools is permitted. You must explain how you have used the tools. When text is solely or mainly generated by an AI tool, the tool used must be quoted as a source.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period


Exam information:

 June at 10:00 a.m is a common exam date for all seminars. The student uploads the seminar assignment in the Digital Exams portal for assessment. The exam date cannot be changed.

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.


For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for Master (UK) and Master (DK ).



Reexam information:

The reexam form in seminars is a seminar paper with a synopsis.

Deadline and more information is available at Seminars(UK) and Seminars(DK).

More information about reexam etc is available at Master(UK) and Master(DK).

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

One spring term or one summer
Spring And Summer
Kick-off meeting in the second week of July
Presentations in the middle of August
Hand-in deadline in the end of August
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   (3-6f69714267657170306d7730666d)

Morten Graugaard Olsen (

Saved on the 14-05-2024

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