The impact of technological changes on income inequality: the EU states case study

Abstract

In spite of economic growth, which led to the creation of millions of new jobs, income inequality has been growing sharply in most parts of the world. There is no doubt that inequality of income is the single greatest threat to social stability throughout the world. Development of technologies contributes to the increase of labour productivity, replacement of job positions by robots and automatic machines, which can further exacerbate social inequality. The aim of this paper is to determine how changes in technology affect the inequality of income in European countries. Based on the econometric apparatus, two periods are investigated: the first one, from 2006 to 2017 and the second one, from 2010 to 2017, that characterizes a new economic era after the global financial crisis. All countries were clustered, which made it possible to generalize their social and technological development. The novelty is that we considered the dichotomy and cointegration of two economic categories – income inequality and technological changes. Using a model that features biased heterogeneity, factor proportions, and labour market frictions, we obtained four quite sufficient results. (1) Central European countries and the UK have reached such a level of development and redistribution in the economy that a change in labour productivity is not significantly associated with any deepening of inequality in incomes. (2) Periphery countries, due to their significant dependence on larger economies and lack of the developed mechanism for redistribution in the economy, are affected by technological changes. (3) The more economically developed is a country, the less impact on income inequality can be initialized by technological change. (4) The deeper is income inequality in a country, the more it responds to technological changes, but the impact on inequality can be both positive and negative.

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