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Author:Autor, David H. 

Newsletter
Explaining trends in wages, work, and occupations

The inequality of labor market earnings in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, closer examination of the data reveals two distinct periods of rising inequality: 1973?89 and 1989?2005. The first period was one of diverging wages throughout the distribution, while the second period was one of polarizing wage growth.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Apr

Conference Paper
Structural demand shifts and potential labor supply responses in the new century

It is widely recognized that inequality of labor market earnings in the United States grew dramatically in recent decades. Over the course of more than three decades, wage growth was weak to nonexistent at the bottom of the distribution, strong at the top of the distribution, and modest at the middle. While real hourly earnings of workers in the bottom 30 percent of the earnings distribution rose by no more than 10 percentage points, earnings of workers at the 90th percentile rose by more than 40 percentage points. What is much less widely known, however, is that this smooth, monotone growth ...
Conference Series ; [Proceedings] , Volume 52

Journal Article
Upstairs downstairs: how introducing computer technology changed skills and pay on two floors of Cabot Bank

Assessing the differing impacts of a new computer technology on skills and pay in two departments of a large bank.
Regional Review , Volume 12 , Issue Q 2

Working Paper
The contribution of the minimum wage to U.S. wage inequality over three decades: a reassessment

We reassess the effect of state and federal minimum wages on U.S. earnings inequality, attending to two issues that appear to bias earlier work: violation of the assumed independence of state wage levels and state wage dispersion, and errors-in-variables that inflate impact estimates via an analogue of the well known division bias problem. We find that erosion of the real minimum wage raises inequality in the lower tail of the wage distribution (the 50/10 wage ratio), but the impacts are typically less than half as large as those reported in the literature and are almost negligible for males. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2010-60

Journal Article
Do temporary jobs help low-skilled workers? : surprising data from Detroit

Because Detroit randomly assigns its welfare-to-work clients to different contractors ? some favoring temporary jobs, some not ? the researchers were able to uncover surprising data on whether temping helps the disadvantaged build careers.
Communities and Banking , Issue Fall , Pages 6-8

Monograph
Structural demand shifts and potential labor supply responses in the new century

It is widely recognized that inequality of labor market earnings in the United States grew dramatically in recent decades. Over the course of more than three decades, wage growth was weak to nonexistent at the bottom of the distribution, strong at the top of the distribution, and modest at the middle. While real hourly earnings of workers in the bottom 30 percent of the earnings distribution rose by no more than 10 percentage points, earnings of workers at the 90th percentile rose by more than 40 percentage points. What is much less widely known, however, is that this smooth, monotone growth ...
Monograph , Paper 52

Journal Article
The polarization of job opportunities in the U.S. labor market: implications for employment and earnings

An in-depth analysis of the state of the U.S. labor market over the past three decades reveals that the U.S. labor market is polarizing into low- and high-skill jobs, with fewer opportunities in the middle.
Community Investments , Volume 23 , Issue Fall

Conference Paper
The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration

We apply an understanding of what computers do to study how computerization alters job skill demands. We argue that computer capital (1) substitutes for workers in performing cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules; and (2) complements workers in performing nonroutine problem-solving and complex communications tasks. Provided these tasks are imperfect substitutes, our model implies measurable changes in the composition of job tasks, which we explore using representative data on task input for 1960 to 1998. We find that within industries, occupations and ...
Proceedings , Issue Nov

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