By David Autor, Kaushik Basu, Zia Qureshi, Dani Rodrik
In the current digital era, new technologies like artificial intelligence and automation are reshaping economies—and societies. While they hold great promise to boost economic prosperity and raise human welfare, they also highlight, and can deepen, economic and social fault lines across advanced and developing economies. Indeed, economic inequality has been rising in many countries over the period of the boom in digital technologies, stoking social discontent in those left behind, across industries, across the workforce, and across different segments of society. An increasingly unequal society can weaken trust in public institutions and undermine democratic governance. Mounting global disparities can imperil geopolitical stability. Rising inequality has emerged as an important topic of political debate and a major public policy concern.
This report, part of ongoing research under the Global Forum on Democracy and Technology, addresses questions related to technology’s implications for inequality and to the policy agenda to promote more inclusive economic growth and development from technological advances:
- In what ways is today’s technological transformation contributing to higher inequality within economies?
- Should workers fear the new automation?
- What are the implications of the new technologies for global inequality and economic convergence between economies?
- What new challenges arise for public policy to manage technological change to build inclusive prosperity?
- What new thinking and adaptations are needed to realign institutions and policies with the digital economy, at national and global levels—and to shape technological change itself?
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