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Mr. Ian Domowitz

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.

Mr. Ian Domowitz
Automated trade execution systems are examined with respect to the degree to which they automate the price discovery process. Seven levels of automation of price discovery are identified, and 47 systems are classified according to these criteria. Systems operating at various levels of automation are compared with respect to age, geographical location, and type of securities traded. Information provided to market participants, and asymmetries of information between traders with direct access to the automated market and outside investors also are examined. It is found, for example, that the degree of asymmetric information increases with the level of automation of price discovery. The potential for trading abuses related to prearranged trading, noncompetitive execution, and trading ahead of customers is analyzed for each level of automation. Certain levels of automation widen the opportunities for trading abuses in some respects, but may narrow them in others.
Mr. Andrew Berg, Mr. Edward F Buffie, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
We may be on the cusp of a “second industrial revolution” based on advances in artificial intelligence and robotics. We analyze the implications for inequality and output, using a model with two assumptions: “robot” capital is distinct from traditional capital in its degree of substitutability with human labor; and only capitalists and skilled workers save. We analyze a range of variants that reflect widely different views of how automation may transform the labor market. Our main results are surprisingly robust: automation is good for growth and bad for equality; in the benchmark model real wages fall in the short run and eventually rise, but “eventually” can easily take generations.
Cristian Alonso, Mr. Andrew Berg, Siddharth Kothari, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Sidra Rehman
This paper considers the implications for developing countries of a new wave of technological change that substitutes pervasively for labor. It makes simple and plausible assumptions: the AI revolution can be modeled as an increase in productivity of a distinct type of capital that substitutes closely with labor; and the only fundamental difference between the advanced and developing country is the level of TFP. This set-up is minimalist, but the resulting conclusions are powerful: improvements in the productivity of “robots” drive divergence, as advanced countries differentially benefit from their initially higher robot intensity, driven by their endogenously higher wages and stock of complementary traditional capital. In addition, capital—if internationally mobile—is pulled “uphill”, resulting in a transitional GDP decline in the developing country. In an extended model where robots substitute only for unskilled labor, the terms of trade, and hence GDP, may decline permanently for the country relatively well-endowed in unskilled labor.
Tahsin Saadi Sedik, Jiae Yoo, and Davide Furceri

COVID-19 has exacerbated concerns about the rise of the robots and other automation technologies. This paper analyzes empirically the impact of past major pandemics on robot adoption and inequality. First, we find that pandemic events accelerate robot adoption, especially when the health impact is severe and is associated with a significant economic downturn. Second, while robots may raise productivity, they could also increase inequality by displacing low-skilled workers. We find that following a pandemic, the increase in inequality over the medium term is larger for economies with higher robot density and where new robot adoption has increased more. Our results suggest that the concerns about the rise of the robots amid the COVID-19 pandemic seem justified.

Mr. Ian Domowitz

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.