Gregorio Buzzelli

Automation, Globalization and the (Mis)perception of Risks: New Evidence from Six Advanced Economies



A growing literature investigates the political implications of automation and globalization, lacking an explanation for the similarity between the nationalist stances triggered by both economic changes. I provide an empirical explanation based on risk perception, showing that automation «losers» misattribute the cause of their material concerns toward migrants. I put forward an interpretation of misattribution based on status loss against which I test a rational-choice hypothesis. I run multivariate models on a novel survey dataset testing the effects of the regional, sectoral, and occupational impact of automation and globalization on risk perception. I find that the exposure to automation is associated with the fear of migrants, regardless of other individual vulnerabilities. On the contrary, the exposure to imports from China only weakly and positively correlate with fear of globalization.


  • Automation
  • Globalization
  • Blame misattribution
  • Risk perception
  • Labor market


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