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SRI Seminar Series: Pinar Yildirim, “Automation, career values, and political preferences”

January 10, 2024, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

SRI seminar series: Pinar Yildirim

Our weekly SRI Seminar Series welcomes Pinar Yildirim, an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School and associate professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Yildirim studies media, technology, and information economics, focusing on the applied economics of online platforms, effects of technology and AI, social and economic networks, media bias, and political economy. Her research has appeared in top economics and business marketing journals and has received numerous awards and widespread media coverage.

In this talk, Yildirim will explore how automation has impacted the US labour market, demonstrating that robotization is contributing to a loss of average local labour market career values, and that these changes have repercussions for investment in public infrastructure and political affiliations.

Talk title

“Automation, career values, and political preferences”


This presentation explores the career implications of automation and robotization using a novel data set of resumes from approximately 16 million individuals from the United States. We calculate the lifetime “career value” of various occupations, combining (1) the likelihood of future transitions to other occupations, and (2) the earning potential of these occupations. We first document a downward trend in the growth of career values in the US between 2000 and 2016. While wage growth slows down over this time period, the decline in the average career value growth is mainly due to reduced upward occupational mobility. We find that robotization contributes to the decline of average local labor market career values. One additional robot per 1000 workers decreased the average local market career value by US$3.82K between 2004 and 2008 and by $2.67K between 2008 and 2016, corresponding to 1.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent of the average career values from the year 2000. In commuting zones that have been more exposed to robots, the average career value has declined further between 2000 and 2016. This decline was more pronounced for low-skilled individuals, with most of the decline coming from their reduced upward mobility. We document that other sources of mobility mitigate the negative effects of automation on career values. We also show that the changes in career values are predictive of investment in long-term outcomes, such as investment into schooling and housing, and voting for a populist candidate, as proxied by the vote share of Trump in 2016. We also find further evidence that automation affected both the demand side and supply side of politics.

About Pinar Yildirim

Pinar Yildirim is an associate professor of marketing and economics at the Wharton School. She is a quantitative marketing and economics expert specializing in media, technology, and information economics. Combining applied theory and empirical analysis, Yildirim studies online platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), privacy, digitization, and social networks. The American Marketing Association (AMA) honored her in 2020 with the Erin Anderson Award, which recognizes a female marketing scholar likely to become a leading academic in the field.

In her research, Yildirim analyzes such topics as advertising and competitive product positioning, the role of choice in two-sided platforms, and the incentive of platforms to moderate content. Yildirim also studies social network design, the impact of advertising on media content, and the use of social network data in credit scoring. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) noted her work on social media and political contributions in 2021 proposed rulemaking involving political programming.

Yildirim’s research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, including the American Economic Review, Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing Research, Quantitative Marketing and Economics, and Management Science. She also serves on the editorial boards of Marketing Science and the Journal of Marketing Research. Numerous mainstream media outlets have covered her work, including CNN, Forbes, the New York Times, NPR, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

At Wharton, Yildirim has received awards for teaching excellence. She teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in marketing research and marketing strategy for technology platforms and executive education modules focused on digital marketing, business in the metaverse economy, and marketing for financial firms.

Yildirim is also a faculty research fellow in the Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).


To register for the event, visit the official event page.

About the SRI Seminar Series

The SRI Seminar Series brings together the Schwartz Reisman community and beyond for a robust exchange of ideas that advance scholarship at the intersection of technology and society. Seminars are led by a leading or emerging scholar and feature extensive discussion.

Each week, a featured speaker will present for 45 minutes, followed by an open discussion. Registered attendees will be emailed a Zoom link before the event begins. The event will be recorded and posted online.


January 10, 2024
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society
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