A survey of past research on the effects of automation on changing employment patterns reveals diverse and conflicting results. This paper examines changes in the size and composition of the labor force of a large government agency undergoing automation, using computerized personnel data, interviews, and a questionnaire. The findings suggest that automation is associated with few overall changes in workforce size and composition with the exception of delayed net decreases in employment levels following an initial "break-in" period. The findings also suggest that changes that do occur are strongly influenced by managerial expectations regarding the likely effects of automation, in addition to automation itself.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.