Experimental Evidence on the Productivity Effects of Generative Artificial Intelligence

15 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2023 Last revised: 11 Apr 2023

See all articles by Shakked Noy

Shakked Noy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Whitney Zhang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date Written: March 1, 2023

Abstract

We examine the productivity effects of a generative artificial intelligence technology—the assistive chatbot ChatGPT—in the context of mid-level professional writing tasks. In a preregistered online experiment, we assign occupation-specific, incentivized writing tasks to 444 college-educated professionals, and randomly expose half of them to ChatGPT. Our results show that ChatGPT substantially raises average productivity: time taken decreases by 0.8 SDs and output quality rises by 0.4 SDs. Inequality between workers decreases, as ChatGPT compresses the productivity distribution by benefiting low-ability workers more. ChatGPT mostly substitutes for worker effort rather than complementing worker skills, and restructures tasks towards idea-generation and editing and away from rough-drafting. Exposure to ChatGPT increases job satisfaction and self-efficacy and heightens both concern and excitement about automation technologies.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, generative AI, labor markets, productivity

JEL Classification: J01, J23, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Noy, Shakked and Zhang, Whitney, Experimental Evidence on the Productivity Effects of Generative Artificial Intelligence (March 1, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4375283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4375283

Shakked Noy (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Whitney Zhang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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