Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/69462
Authors: 
Autor, David H.
Dorn, David
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion Paper Series, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit 7068
Abstract: 
We offer an integrated explanation and empirical analysis of the polarization of U.S. employment and wages between 1980 and 2005, and the concurrent growth of low skill service occupations. We attribute polarization to the interaction between consumer preferences, which favor variety over specialization, and the falling cost of automating routine, codifiable job tasks. Applying a spatial equilibrium model, we derive, test, and confirm four implications of this hypothesis. Local labor markets that were specialized in routine activities differentially adopted information technology, reallocated low skill labor into service occupations (employment polarization), experienced earnings growth at the tails of the distribution (wage polarization), and received inflows of skilled labor.
Subjects: 
skill demand
job tasks
inequality
polarization
technological change
occupational choice
service occupations
JEL: 
E24
J24
J31
J62
O33
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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