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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 ...
Job Polarization and the Natural Rate of Unemployment in the United States
I present a new estimate of the natural rate of unemployment in the United States that accounts for changes in the age, sex, and skill composition of the labor force. Using micro-level data from the Current Population Survey for the period 1994-2017, I find that the natural rate of unemployment declined by 0.5 percentage point since 1994 and currently stands at 4.5 percent. My projections show that ongoing demographic and technological changes could lower the trend rate further to 4.4 percent by the end of 2022.
Disappearing Routine Occupations and Declining Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
I study the effect of disappearing routine occupations on the decline in the labor force participation rate of prime-age individuals since the 1990s. I use multiple data sources and empirical models to study this relationship. First, I exploit state-level variation and show that the long-term trends of declining routine employment and prime-age labor force participation are highly correlated. Second, I narrow the geographic unit to local labor markets and quantify the causal effect of declining routine employment on the labor market outcomes of prime-age individuals. My results imply that the ...
Why Are Some Places So Much More Unequal Than Others?
This study examines the magnitude and sources of regional wage inequality in the United States. The authors find that, as in the nation as a whole, wage inequality has increased in nearly every metropolitan area since the early 1980s, though there is significant variation among places in both the degree of wage inequality and the pace at which it has risen. The most unequal places tend to be large urban areas that have benefited from strong demand for skill and agglomeration economies, with these factors leading to particularly rapid wage growth for high-skilled workers. The least unequal ...