The Viral Transmission Risk of Occupations in Austria and Its Implications for Automatability

  • Prettner, Klaus (Projektleitung)
  • Barr, Candace (Forscher*in)
  • Stöllinger, Roman (Forscher*in)
  • Fuchs, Cornelia (Kontaktperson für administrative Abwicklung)



Jubiläumsfonds der Österreichischen Nationalbank


The objective of the research project is to assess the viral transmission risk (VTR) and the risk of automation (AR) of occupations in the Austrian economy. The focus is on identifying those occupations which are characterised by both a high VTR and a high AR. Our interest in this interplay is based on the assumption that infection risk at the workplace becomes relevant for the automation of occupations only with the onset of COVID-19 and that it reinvigorates pre-existing automation tendencies in the Austrian labour market. In addition to the identification of occupations and the share of employment characterised by a joint risk of viral infection and automation, our research also provides information on the exposure to this joint risk of demographic groups, industries and Austrian regions (Bundesländer) for which we develop a relative joint risk exposure index. This characterisation of the Austrian labour market is supplemented with a quantitative analysis of the impact of the VTR on occupation-specific labour demand, taking into account the automation probability. The empirical work is motivated by a theoretical framework, which predicts that the labour demand for automatable jobs is negatively affected by workplace infection risk via labour productivity. Our research strongly relies on occupation specific employment data from the Austrian microcensus and covers the period 2015-2021.
Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/10/2230/09/24


  • Workplace infection risk
  • automation
  • labour demand
  • occupations
  • routine and non-routine