There is a lively ongoing debate about the effects of the widespread introduction of robots in work environments. Many people in the labor market worry about inequality and possible job loss that robot technology may create. However, large-scale studies on the determinants of these perceptions are thus far lacking. This article assesses which members of the labor force are most fearful of the introduction of robots at work by using the 2012 Eurobarometer Public Attitudes towards Robots dataset, covering 11 206 respondents in 20 European countries. Our study shows that those (a) in economic positions that are more likely to be negatively affected by robotics are more likely to be fearful of robots at work, along with, to some extent, those living in countries (b) with adverse economic conditions and (c) where employees are less protected from market forces. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Keywords Fear of robots, Labor market institutions, Robots, Technological change, Trade unions
JEL Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes (jel O33), Technological Change; Research and Development (R&D): Other (jel O39)
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Journal Socio-Economic Review
Dekker, F.W, Salomons, A. (Anna), & van der Waal, J. (Jeroen). (2017). Fear of robots at work: The role of economic self-interest. Socio-Economic Review, 15(3), 539–562. doi:10.1093/ser/mwx005