This talk introduces ongoing research on the consequences of rapid technological change (digitalization and automation) for the welfare state. In the first part of the talk, I will discuss the contours of an emerging research agenda in this field, focusing on how technological change will impact both the politics of the welfare state and the policy responses. In the second part, I will present ongoing research on the impact of automation on social policy preferences. Using novel survey data for a large number of OECD countries, I show that a higher (subjective) risk of losing one’s job due to automation is related to higher support for compensatory social policy and less support for social investment policies. This poses difficult challenges for policy-makers when designing policy responses as they have to find a good balance between compensation and social investment.
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