AØKK08393U Seminar: Automation, employment and income inequality

Volume 2020/2021

MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics


To go into depth about the consequences of new technologies – robots automation and AI, on the labor market. To what extent do these technologies affect the labor market differently than technological innovation that came before it? Students are encouraged to carry out their own empirical analysis


Topics could include

  • The effects of the implementation of a specific technology on inequality or unemployment
  • Historical parallels between new technologies today and previously
  • Gender differences in the effects of technology
  • The interplay between new technology and globalization
  • The interplay between education and new technology.
  • Job and Wage polarization
  • The labor share of GDP.
  • The drivers of new technologies
Learning Outcome

After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Curriculum and to be able to:



  • Account for the most recent findings in the literature studying the interplay between technology and labor markets
  • Account for the basic assumptions of the theoretical models including: factor complementarity, labor share of GDP and task-based modelling.



  • Analyze the consequences of new technology in a specific setting
  • Evaluate existing research and discuss its reliability.
  • Evaluate policy responses to rising inequality.



  • Plan a research project
  • Design policy responses to adverse developments in labor markets.
  • Acemoglu and Autor, “Skills, tasks and technologies: implications for employment and earnings”, Handbook of labor economics, 2011
  • Acemoglu and Restrepo, “Robots and jobs: Evidence for US labor market”, Working Paper, 2017
  • Michaels, Natraj and Van Reenen “Has ICT polarized skill demand? Evidence from eleven countries over twenty-five years”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 2014
  • Jaimovich and Siu, “The trend is the cycle: Job polarization and jobless recoveries”, Working paper, 2012
  • Autor, Dorn and Hanson, “Untangling trade and technology: Evidence from local labour markets”, The economic Journal, 2015.
  • Dechezleprêtre, Hémous, Olsen and Zanella, “Automating Labor: Evidence from Firm-level patent data”, Working paper 2019
BSc in Economics or similar
The seminar only relies on the mandatory classes in the Bachelor of Economics at the Department of Economics, Copenhagen University. A solid understanding of econometrics and long-run macroeconomics is an advantage.
At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

The aim of the presentations is, that you use the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback at the paper. The presentations are not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.
The teacher defines what materials may be used for the presentations.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the seminar paper after the presentation has taken place.

In case of a pandemic like Corona the teaching in this seminar may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online. For further information, see the course room on Absalon.

Spring 2021:
• Kick-Off meeting: Monday 8 February, at 10.15-12
• Extra meetings/Introductory classes/guidings: Monday 15 February, at 10.15 -12
• Deadline for submitting commitmentpaper/ project description: Not later than March 1st or as specified by the lecturer.
• Deadline of seminar paper uploaded to Absalon: Not later than one week before the presentations or as specified by the lecturer.
• The presentation-meetings: Monday 10 May to Wednesday 12 May, at 10-15

General information:
It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/agreement paper.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Total
  • 206
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum and at KUNet for seminars.
Exam registration requirements

Attendance in all  activities at the seminar as stated in the formal requrements in the Curriculum  and at the KUnet for Seminars (UK)  and  Seminars (DK)  is required to participate in the exam.


All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Regular exam:

Spring 2021:
Deadline for submitting the final seminar paper: June 1, 2021 before 10 AM

Exam information:

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

More information about examination, rules, aids etc. at Master (UK) and Master (DK ).



Reexam information:

The reexam is a written seminar paper as stated in the Curriculum.

Deadline and more information is available at Seminars(UK) and Seminars(DK).

More information about reexam etc is available at Master(UK)andMaster(DK).

Criteria for exam assesment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.