Robots, Labor Market Frictions, and Corporate Financial Policies

46 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2020 Last revised: 15 Dec 2023

See all articles by Alice (Yanguang) Liu

Alice (Yanguang) Liu

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, Department of Finance; New Jersey Institute of Technology, Martin Tuchman School of Management

Date Written: March 6, 2020

Abstract

Using a novel dataset on industrial robots from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), we find that the use of robots leads to higher leverage and lower cash holdings. Using an instrumental variable based on the comparative advantage of robots in specific tasks, we find that the effect is likely to be causal. Further analyses show that the effect is driven by the decreases in operating leverage when firms use more robots. We also find that the effect is stronger when firms are hit by negative shocks including increases in minimum wage and foreign competition, suggesting that the use of robots mitigates labor market frictions and increases operating flexibility.

Keywords: capital structure; robots; cash holdings; operating leverage

JEL Classification: G30, J0, O0

Suggested Citation

Liu, Yanguang, Robots, Labor Market Frictions, and Corporate Financial Policies (March 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3563906 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3563906

Yanguang Liu (Contact Author)

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, Department of Finance ( email )

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Martin Tuchman School of Management ( email )

University Heights
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

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