Technology-Induced Job Loss and the Prioritization of Economic Problems in the Mass Public

Tobias Heinrich, Christopher Witko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Observers argue that robots and other advanced technology will eliminate millions of jobs across affluent democracies in the coming decades. But do citizens in affluent democracies recognize this, and if so, does it affect how salient they find economic problems compared to other problems the governments might address? Using a unique Eurobarometer survey with an extensive set of questions about technology we investigate the extent of sociotropic and selfish employment concerns regarding technology and examine how these concerns are associated with the micro-level prioritization of economic problems in European mass publics. We find that sociotropic employment concerns regarding technology are widespread compared to selfish, but that only those with selfish employment concerns demonstrate greater prioritization of economic problems. Our findings have important implications for understanding how people view the threat posed by technology to their jobs and potential shifts in policy agendas as technology-induced job loss spreads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-179
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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