Skip to 美中全球议题对话项目 Full Site Menu Skip to main content

Little to Lose: Exit Options and Technological Receptiveness in China

活动系列: 中国政治与经济研究讲座系列

Worker on construction site

Discussions on the future of work emphasize the negative effects of labor-replacing technology on employment and wages. However, original surveys and field research show that Chinese manufacturing workers currently consider themselves beneficiaries of technological upgrading. In this talk, Nicole Wu will share her research, which draws quantitative and qualitative evidence from original surveys, interviews, and factory visits in China. She finds that insofar as laborers experience automation anxiety, local workers are more likely than internal migrant workers to worry about technological displacement and are more pessimistic about their prospects of securing comparable employment after displacement. Internal migrants face systematic labor market discrimination; the availability of exit options comparable to their status quo contributes to their lower anxiety about automation compared to locals.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Department of Government and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University.


Nicole Wu is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on how workers respond to employment threats from technological change and automation. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University and obtained a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan.