On December 12, 2019, Fed in Print will introduce its new platform for discovering content. Please direct your questions to Anna Oates
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)
International Finance Discussion Papers
Complex-Task Biased Technological Change and the Labor Market
In this paper we study the relationship between task complexity and the occupational wage- and employment structure. Complex tasks are defined as those requiring higher-order skills, such as the ability to abstract, solve problems, make decisions, or communicate effectively. We measure the task complexity of an occupation by performing Principal Component Analysis on a broad set of occupational descriptors in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) data.We establish four main empirical facts for the U.S. over the 1980-2005 time period that are robust to the inclusion of a detailed set of controls, subsamples, and levels of aggregation: (1) There is a positive relationship across occupations between task complexity and wages and wage growth; (2) Conditional on task complexity, routine-intensity of an occupation is not a significant predictor of wage growth and wage levels; (3) Labor has reallocated from less complex to more complex occupations over time; (4) Within groups of occupations with similar task complexity labor has reallocated to non-routine occupations over time. We then formulate a model of Complex-Task Biased Technological Change with heterogeneous skills and show analytically that it can rationalize these facts. We conclude that workers in non-routine occupations with low ability of solving complex tasks are not shielded from the labor market effects of automatization.
Cite this item
Colin Caines & Florian Hoffmann & Gueorgui Kambourov, Complex-Task Biased Technological Change and the Labor Market, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), International Finance Discussion Papers 1192, Feb 2017.
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Keywords: Occupational Task Content ; Complex Tasks ; Wage Polarization ; Skills
This item with handle RePEc:fip:fedgif:1192
is also listed on EconPapers
For corrections, contact Ryan Wolfslayer ()