Do workers demand protection from digital transformations at work? Evidence from five European countries

Hybrid event

Do citizens demand protection for workers in risk of being displaced by technology? While labour market risks related to technological change have been common in the last centuries, debate about the implications of labour market upheaval created by disruptive technologies has intensified in recent years due to the intensification of digitalisation and the use of AI. In this joint paper with Alexander Kuo (University of Oxford), Aina Gallego will present new survey data from 5 EU countries to examine if citizens support a wide suite of policies to regulate contemporary technological change in the workplace, including technological ‘protectionist’ policies to slow down technological change. These include policies that are infrequently asked about in the literature, such as empowering workers to control the rate of technological adoption and taxing companies that technologically replace workers by algorithms, among others. They examine whether informing individuals of the redistributive and socio-tropic consequences of such policies affects their support, and whether technological risks condition such support. It is found that a non-negligible minority of citizens supports policies that can shelter workers from technological disruption at the workplace, but that egotropic arguments reduce support for such policies, while arguments about the distributive consequences of policies have little impact on public opinion.


This seminar is part of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention Trinity Term Seminar Series.
Booking required for people outside of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention (DSPI). DSPI Members do not need to register.