No Great Equalizer: Experimental Evidence on AI in the UK Labor Market

44 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2023

See all articles by Matthias Haslberger

Matthias Haslberger

University of St. Gallen

Jane Gingrich

Univeristy of Oxford

Jasmine Bhatia

Birkbeck, University of London

Date Written: October 6, 2023

Abstract

Generative artificial intelligence is already transforming how people work. There is an emerging consensus in early studies that it reduces inequalities in performance within specific occupational groups; however, the question of whether these results generalize to the labor market at large remains open. We conducted a pre-registered online experiment with a representative sample of the UK working-age population. We randomly assigned participants to treatments that encouraged or discouraged the use of ChatGPT and then asked them to complete a set of tasks of varying complexity and ambiguity. We find that exposure to ChatGPT increased productivity in all tasks, with greater benefits observed in more complex and less ambiguous tasks. ChatGPT did reduce performance inequality within occupational groups in most cases, but not between educational or occupational groups. Inequalities between younger and older workers even increased. This study indicates that generative AI has the potential to improve worker performance in a wide array of tasks, but the impact on aggregate inequalities is likely to depend on task-specific features and workers' characteristics.

Suggested Citation

Haslberger, Matthias and Gingrich, Jane and Bhatia, Jasmine, No Great Equalizer: Experimental Evidence on AI in the UK Labor Market (October 6, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4594466 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4594466

Matthias Haslberger (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Jane Gingrich

Univeristy of Oxford ( email )

Department of Social Policy and Intervention
Oxford
United Kingdom

Jasmine Bhatia

Birkbeck, University of London ( email )

Malet st.
Bloomsbury
London
United Kingdom

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