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Artificial intelligence and wage inequality
OECD
2024.04.11
This paper looks at the links between AI and wage inequality across 19 OECD countries. It uses a measure of occupational exposure to AI derived from that developed by Felten, Raj and Seamans (2019) - a measure of the degree to which occupations rely on abilities in which AI has made the most progress.
The results provide no indication that AI has affected wage inequality between occupations so far (over the period 2014-2018). At the same time, there is some evidence that AI may be associated with lower wage inequality within occupations - consistent with emerging findings from the literature that AI reduces productivity differentials between workers.
Further research is needed to identify the exact mechanisms driving the negative relationship between AI and wage inequality within occupations. One possible explanation is that low performers have more to gain from using AI because AI systems are trained to embody the more accurate practices of high performers. It is also possible that AI reduces performance differences within an occupation through a selection effect, e.g. if low performers leave their job because they are unable to adapt to AI tools by shifting their activities to tasks that AI cannot automate.