Emerging Manufacturing Technologies and the Demand for Skills

Awarded Scholars:
Brian Kovak, Carnegie Mellon University
Laurence Ales, Carnegie Mellon University
Erica Fuchs, Carnegie Mellon University
Kate Whitefoot, Carnegie Mellon University
Project Date:
Apr 2019
Award Amount:

In recent decades, U.S. manufacturing employment has declined sharply, leading to a reduction in middle-income jobs and resulting in earnings losses for many displaced workers. To what extent is this decline the result of technological changes, such as collaborative robotics, augmented reality or additive manufacturing? Economist Brian Kovak and colleagues from economics, engineering and public policy will analyze detailed engineering data on production technologies to credibly predict how emerging technologies will affect manufacturing production processes, the tasks performed by workers, and the ensuing shifts in skill demand. They will use in-depth case studies of two sectors—motor-vehicle manufacturing and the optoelectronic sector of the semiconductor industry—to develop engineering models of the production processes, and then relate them to production functions more familiar to economists.


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