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Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings

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  • Brad Hershbein
  • Lisa B. Kahn

Abstract

We show that skill requirements in job vacancy postings differentially increased in MSAs that were hit hard by the Great Recession, relative to less hard-hit areas. These increases persist through at least the end of 2015 and are correlated with increases in capital investments, both at the MSA and firm levels. We also find that effects are most pronounced in routine-cognitive occupations, which exhibit relative wage growth as well. We argue that this evidence is consistent with the restructuring of production toward routine-biased technologies and the more-skilled workers that complement them, and that the Great Recession accelerated this process.

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  • Brad Hershbein & Lisa B. Kahn, 2018. "Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(7), pages 1737-1772, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:7:p:1737-72
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20161570
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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