Robotization, Internal Migration and Rural Depopulation in Austria
It is well established in the economic literature that internal migration plays a crucial role in the adjustment of local labor markets to labor demand shocks. Such internal migration flows, specifically flows from rural to urban regions, have greatly contributed to the depopulation of many rural regions in both Europe and the US. This paper analyzes the effects industrial robotization has had on manufacturing employment and internal migration flows in Austria during the period 2002-2016. Internal migration flows are then decomposed by origin and destination regions to lay a specific focus on rural-to-urban migration. The results show that robotization has caused significant declines in manufacturing employment to which populations reacted by increased out-migration in affected regions. The majority of this migratory responses takes the form of rural-to-urban migration, thereby contributing to the depopulation of many rural areas in Austria. These migratory responses are strongest for young and highly educated individuals.
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Karim Bekhtiar joined the Institute for Advanced Studies in September 2018. He holds a Master degree in Economics from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Economics at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz.