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Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets

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  • David H. Autor
  • David Dorn
  • Gordon H. Hanson

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 non-manufacturing 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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Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2015. "Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 621-646, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v::y:2015:i:584:p:621-646
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2015.125.issue-584
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • 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
    • 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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