Local Shocks and Internal Migration: The Disparate Effects of Robots and Chinese Imports in the U.S.

65 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2020 Last revised: 17 Feb 2023

See all articles by Marius Faber

Marius Faber

University of Basel

Andres Sarto

Princeton University

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School

Date Written: February 13, 2023

Abstract

Do local labor markets adjust to economic shocks through migration? In this paper,
we study this question by focusing on two of the most important shocks that hit US
manufacturing since the 1990s: Chinese import competition and the introduction of
industrial robots. We find that, even though both shocks drastically reduced manufacturing
employment, only robots led to a sizable decline in population. We provide
evidence that negative employment spillovers outside manufacturing, caused by robots
but not by Chinese imports, can explain the different migration responses.

Keywords: migration, employment, technology, trade

JEL Classification: J21, J23, J61

Suggested Citation

Faber, Marius and Sarto, Andres and Tabellini, Marco, Local Shocks and Internal Migration: The Disparate Effects of Robots and Chinese Imports in the U.S. (February 13, 2023). Harvard Business School BGIE Unit Working Paper No. 20-071, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3517458 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3517458

Marius Faber

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003
Switzerland

Andres Sarto

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Marco Tabellini (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
180
Abstract Views
1,237
Rank
309,253
PlumX Metrics