Ai and the Economy

34 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2018 Last revised: 18 Jun 2023

See all articles by Jason Furman

Jason Furman

Harvard Kennedy School; Peterson Institute for International Economics

Robert Seamans

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

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Date Written: June 2018


We review the evidence that artificial intelligence (AI) is having a large effect on the economy. Across a variety of statistics—including robotics shipments, AI startups, and patent counts—there is evidence of a large increase in AI-related activity. We also review recent research in this area which suggests that AI and robotics have the potential to increase productivity growth but may have mixed effects on labor, particularly in the short run. In particular, some occupations and industries may do well while others experience labor market upheaval. We then consider current and potential policies around AI that may help to boost productivity growth while also mitigating any labor market downsides including evaluating the pros and cons of an AI specific regulator, expanded antitrust enforcement, and alternative strategies for dealing with the labor-market impacts of AI, including universal basic income and guaranteed employment.

Suggested Citation

Furman, Jason and Seamans, Robert, Ai and the Economy (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24689, Available at SSRN:

Jason Furman (Contact Author)

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Robert Seamans

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

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