People Versus Machines: The Impact of Being in an Automatable Job on Australian Worker's Mental Health and Life Satisfaction

101 Pages Posted: 19 May 2022

See all articles by Grace Lordan

Grace Lordan

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Eliza-Jane Stringer

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Abstract

This study explores the effect on mental health and life satisfaction of working in an automatable job. We utilise an Australian panel dataset (HILDA), and estimate models that include individual fixed effects, to estimate the association between automatable work and proxies of wellbeing. Overall, we find evidence that automatable work has a small, detrimental impact on the mental health and life satisfaction of workers within some industries, particularly those with higher levels of job automation risk, such as manufacturing. Furthermore, we find no strong trends to suggest that any particular demographic group is disproportionately impacted across industries. These findings are robust to a variety of specifications. We also find evidence of adaptation to these effects after one-year tenure on the job, indicating a limited role for firm policy.

Keywords: automation, life satisfaction, mental health, job security

JEL Classification: I10, J20

Suggested Citation

Lordan, Grace and Stringer, Eliza-Jane, People Versus Machines: The Impact of Being in an Automatable Job on Australian Worker's Mental Health and Life Satisfaction. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15182, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4114742 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4114742

Grace Lordan (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

Eliza-Jane Stringer

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

United Kingdom

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