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Untangling trade and technology: Evidence from local labor markets


Autor, David; Dorn, David; Hanson, Gordon (2013). Untangling trade and technology: Evidence from local labor markets. NBER Working Paper 18938, National Bureau of Economic Research.

Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in U.S. local labor markets between 1990 and 2007. Labor markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labor markets susceptible to computerization due to specialization in routine task-intensive activities experience significant occupational polarization within manufacturing and nonmanufacturing but no net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerization of information-processing tasks in non manufacturing.

Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in U.S. local labor markets between 1990 and 2007. Labor markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labor markets susceptible to computerization due to specialization in routine task-intensive activities experience significant occupational polarization within manufacturing and nonmanufacturing but no net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerization of information-processing tasks in non manufacturing.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:April 2013
Deposited On:17 Oct 2014 15:15
Last Modified:15 Aug 2017 18:10
Series Name:NBER Working Paper
Number of Pages:26
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3386/w18938
Official URL:http://www.nber.org/papers/w18938.pdf

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