Putting the Price Tag on Automation

Even though automation is slowly but surely entering every aspect of our lives, it is by no means free.

As with every quality of life improvement it comes with certain costs attached, and the question becomes how much would you be willing to pay for partial or full automation?

A recent study examined the attitude of households towards vehicle automation – i.e. self-driving cars.

The study results showed the average household is willing to pay a significant amount for automation: about $3500 for partial automation and $4900 for full automation.

The study also discovered substantial heterogeneity in preferences for automation, where a significant share of the sample is willing to pay above $10,000 for full automation technology while many are not willing to pay any positive amount for the new technology.

Self-driving cars could lead to a huge quality of life improvements for persons who have to commute daily, but the automation needs to be attained in full in order to achieve its real value. If a person can use its laptop on the way to work and recover 1 to 2 hours a day, the overall productivity increase is worth well over $5000.

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