Professors Acemoglu and Athey Share Their Expertise on the Impact of AI on Jobs and the Economy at Today’s Congressional Hearing

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on September 10, 2020


Today the House Budget Committee will hear testimony on artificial intelligence (AI) technology and its potential benefits and pitfalls. Specifically, the committee will be exploring AI’s effects on the economy, labor markets, and income inequality; and will be looking to understand the implications for federal policy and the budget.


The virtual hearing, “Machines, Artificial Intelligence, & the Workforce: Recovering & Readying Our Economy for the Future” will begin at 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight time today, Thursday, September 10th, 2020.


TAP scholars Susan Athey, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be testifying at today’s hearing.


Daron Acemoglu is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2019, Professor Acemoglu received MIT’s highest faculty honor by being named Institute Professor. Professor Acemoglu is a leading thinker on the labor market implications of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, and new technologies. His innovative work challenges the way people think about how these technologies intersect with the world of work. Professor Acemoglu’s recent research focuses on the political, economic and social causes of differences in economic development across societies; the factors affecting the institutional and political evolution of nations; and how technology impacts growth and distribution of resources and is itself determined by economic and social incentives.


Among Professor Acemoglu’s honors, in 2005 he won the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every two years to the best economist in the United States under the age of 40 by the American Economic Association. He has also won the Nemmers Prize in Economics, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award, and been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Acemoglu was awarded the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in 2018; and in 2019, he received the Global Economy Prize, from the Institute for the World Economy.


Some of Professor Acemoglu’s work that focuses on artificial intelligence and the future of work includes:

  • What We Owe Essential Workers (TAP, July 22, 2020, reprinted from Project Syndicate with permission)
  • The Wrong Kind of AI? with coauthor Pascual Restrepo (TAP, December 21, 2018, reprinted with permission from the Toulouse Network for Information Technology)
  • Man vs Machine (TAP, June 29, 2017, reprinted with permission from the Toulouse Network for Information Technology)
  • Automation and the Future of Jobs (TAP, June 28, 2017, reprinted with permission from the Toulouse Network for Information Technology)

Susan Athey, an economic theorist who has made significant contributions to the study of industrial organization, is the Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She also is Professor of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences, and Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Her current research focuses on the economics of the Internet, marketplace design, auction theory, the statistical analysis of auction data, and the intersection of computer science and economics. She is an expert in a broad range of economic fields – including industrial organization, econometrics, and microeconomic theory – and has used game theory to examine firm strategy when firms have private information.


Professor Athey was awarded the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in Toulouse, France in 2016. The annual award recognizes an internationally renowned economist whose research is in the spirit of the work undertaken by Professor Jean-Jacques Laffont, combining both the theoretical and the empirical. In 2007, Professor Athey was named the first female recipient of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every other year to the most accomplished American economist under the age of 40 “adjudged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.”


Below are some of Professor Athey’s work that focuses on artificial intelligence and the future of work: