App. B—Commissioned Background Papers . 91
AUTOMATION AND INCREASING
More than 25 years of empirical research on the productivity, cost and other effects of major technological innovations in a wide array of industries in the U.S. and abroad have led me to draw two conclusions:
that the actual economic effects of even major technological advances have almost invariably fallen far short of their ex- pected effects; and that such exaggerated expectations have been due to their over- concentration on only a limited sector of the complex of interactions which determine actual results. analysis of the prospective effects of increasing applications of
robotics in domestic industries on their cost effectiveness and international competitiveness requires avoidance of such over-simplifications.
Accordingly, Part I of this paper will present some foundations for policy
analysis, vances in
the place of robotics within
current and prospective ad- increasing robot utilization
on productivity and costs; and the resulting effects on international competi-
Part II will then consider the problems and policy implications of
to accelerate the development
of robotics and related advances in the diffusion of such advances within
domestic manufacturing industries; and to mitigate social and economic effects of such developments.
I POLICY ANALYSIS FOUNDATIONS
Robotics and Programmable Automation in Manufacturing
Gains in the physical efficiency of manufacturing operations may be derived
Prepared for the Robotics Workshop of the Congressional Office of Technology
Assessment held on July 31, 1981. ** William E. Umstattd professor of Industrial Economics and Director of the
Research Program in Industrial Economics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.