IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedpwp/92952.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Geography of Job Tasks

Author

Abstract

The returns to skills and the nature of work differ systematically across labor markets of different sizes. Prior research has pointed to worker interactions, technological innovation, and specialization as key sources of urban productivity gains, but has been limited by the available data in its ability to fully characterize work across geographies. We study the sources of geographic inequality and present new facts about the geography of work using online job ads. We show that the (i) intensity of interactive and analytic tasks, (ii) technological requirements, and (iii) task specialization all increase with city size. The gradient for tasks and technologies exists both across and within occupations. It is also steeper for jobs requiring a college degree and for workers employed in non-tradable industries. We document that our new measures help account for a substantial portion of the urban wage premium, both in aggregate and across occupation groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Enghin Atalay & Sebastian Sotelo & Daniel Tannenbaum, 2021. "The Geography of Job Tasks," Working Papers 21-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:92952
    DOI: 10.21799/frbp.wp.2021.27
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/frbp/assets/working-papers/2021/wp21-27.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.21799/frbp.wp.2021.27?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Deming & Lisa B. Kahn, 2018. "Skill Requirements across Firms and Labor Markets: Evidence from Job Postings for Professionals," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 337-369.
    2. Davis, Donald R. & Dingel, Jonathan I., 2020. "The comparative advantage of cities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    3. Alicia Sasser Modestino & Daniel Shoag & Joshua Ballance, 2020. "Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 793-805, October.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, Third Edition, pages 299-322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Donald R. Davis & Jonathan I. Dingel, 2019. "A Spatial Knowledge Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(1), pages 153-170, January.
    6. Bleakley, Hoyt & Lin, Jeffrey, 2012. "Thick-market effects and churning in the labor market: Evidence from US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 87-103.
    7. Duranton, Gilles & Jayet, Hubert, 2011. "Is the division of labour limited by the extent of the market? Evidence from French cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 56-71, January.
    8. Chaney, Thomas & Ossa, Ralph, 2013. "Market size, division of labor, and firm productivity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 177-180.
    9. Autor, David H., 2013. "The "task approach" to labor markets : an overview," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 46(3), pages 185-199.
    10. David H. Autor, 2019. "Work of the Past, Work of the Future," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 109, pages 1-32, May.
    11. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen J Redding, 2019. "Task Specialization in U.S. Cities from 1880 to 2000," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 754-798.
    12. Rebecca Diamond, 2016. "The Determinants and Welfare Implications of US Workers' Diverging Location Choices by Skill: 1980-2000," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 479-524, March.
    13. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    14. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2015. "Knowledge-Based Hierarchies: Using Organizations to Understand the Economy," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, August.
    15. Derek Neal, 1998. "The Link between Ability and Specialization: An Explanation for Observed Correlations between Wages and Mobility Rates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 173-200.
    16. 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.
    17. Jeffrey Lin, 2011. "Technological Adaptation, Cities, and New Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 554-574, May.
    18. Lee, Sanghoon, 2010. "Ability sorting and consumer city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 20-33, July.
    19. Couture, Victor & Handbury, Jessie, 2020. "Urban revival in America," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    20. Carlino, Gerald A. & Chatterjee, Satyajit & Hunt, Robert M., 2007. "Urban density and the rate of invention," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 389-419, May.
    21. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2004. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-370, August.
    22. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2009. "Specialization, Firms, and Markets: The Division of Labor within and between Law Firms," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 339-371, October.
    23. Atalay, Enghin & Phongthiengtham, Phai & Sotelo, Sebastian & Tannenbaum, Daniel, 2018. "New technologies and the labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 48-67.
    24. Baumgardner, James R, 1988. "Physicians' Services and the Division of Labor across Local Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 948-982, October.
    25. Mohammad Arzaghi & J. Vernon Henderson, 2008. "Networking off Madison Avenue," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1011-1038.
    26. Enghin Atalay & Phai Phongthiengtham & Sebastian Sotelo & Daniel Tannenbaum, 2020. "The Evolution of Work in the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 1-34, April.
    27. David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon Hanson, 2019. "When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage Market Value of Young Men," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 161-178, September.
    28. Claudia Macaluso, 2017. "Skill Remoteness and Post-layoff Labor Market Outcomes," 2017 Meeting Papers 569, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    29. David J. Deming, 2017. "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(4), pages 1593-1640.
    30. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
    31. Marigee Bacolod & Bernardo S. Blum & William C. Strange, 2009. "Urban interactions: soft skills versus specialization," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 227-262, March.
    32. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
    33. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
    34. Fabian Eckert & Sharat Ganapati & Conor Walsh, 2020. "Skilled Scalable Services: The New Urban Bias in Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 8705, CESifo.
    35. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
    36. Nathaniel Baum-Snow & Matthew Freedman & Ronni Pavan, 2018. "Why Has Urban Inequality Increased?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 1-42, October.
    37. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2008. "Human Capital Specificity: Evidence from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Displaced Worker Surveys, 1984-2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 387-420, July.
    38. Kim, Sunwoong, 1989. "Labor Specialization and the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 692-705, June.
    39. Nicholas Bloom & Tarek A. Hassan & Aakash Kalyani & Josh Lerner & Ahmed Tahoun, 2020. "The Geography of New Technologies," Working Papers Series inetwp126, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    40. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Behrens, Kristian & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2015. "Agglomeration Theory with Heterogeneous Agents," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 171-245, Elsevier.
    2. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Gobillon, Laurent, 2015. "The Empirics of Agglomeration Economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 247-348, Elsevier.
    3. David J Deming & Kadeem Noray, 2020. "Earnings Dynamics, Changing Job Skills, and STEM Careers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(4), pages 1965-2005.
    4. Jeffrey Brinkman, 2014. "The supply and demand of skilled workers in cities and the role of industry composition," Working Papers 14-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Carlino, Gerald & Kerr, William R., 2015. "Agglomeration and Innovation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 349-404, Elsevier.
    6. Yuming Fu & Yang Hao, 2015. "An Urban Accounting for Geographic Concentration of Skills and Welfare Inequality," ERSA conference papers ersa15p734, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Suzanne Kok, 2013. "Town and city jobs: Your job is different in another location," CPB Discussion Paper 246, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    8. Davide Consoli & Giovanni Marin & Francesco Rentocchini & Francesco Vona, 2019. "Routinization, Within-Occupation Task Changes and Long-Run Employment Dynamics," LEM Papers Series 2019/15, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    9. Fabio Cerina & Elisa Dienesch & Michelle Rendall, 2019. "Spatial Polarization," Monash Economics Working Papers 06-19, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. Berger, Thor & Frey, Carl Benedikt, 2016. "Did the Computer Revolution shift the fortunes of U.S. cities? Technology shocks and the geography of new jobs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 38-45.
    11. Suzanne Kok & Bas ter Weel, 2014. "Cities, Tasks, And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(5), pages 856-892, November.
    12. Madanizadeh, Seyed Ali, 2021. "International trade, skill premium and endogenous labor division: The case of Mexico," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    13. Enghin Atalay & Phai Phongthiengtham & Sebastian Sotelo & Daniel Tannenbaum, 2020. "The Evolution of Work in the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 1-34, April.
    14. David Deming & Lisa B. Kahn, 2018. "Skill Requirements across Firms and Labor Markets: Evidence from Job Postings for Professionals," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 337-369.
    15. Cnossen, Femke & Piracha, Matloob & Tchuente, Guy, 2021. "Learning the Right Skill: The Returns to Social, Technical and Basic Skills for Middle-Educated Graduates," GLO Discussion Paper Series 979, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. Inga Heiland & Wilhelm Kohler, 2013. "Heterogeneous Workers, Trade, and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 4387, CESifo.
    17. Haiwen Zhou, 2004. "The division of labor and the extent of the market," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 24(1), pages 195-209, July.
    18. Kemeny, Thomas & Storper, Michael, 2020. "Superstar cities and left-behind places: disruptive innovation, labor demand, and interregional inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103312, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. Davide Consoli & Giovanni Marin & Francesco Rentocchini & Francesco Vona, 2019. "Routinization, within-occupation task changes and long-run employment dynamics," Working Papers hal-03403229, HAL.
    20. William R. Kerr & Frederic Robert-Nicoud, 2020. "Tech Clusters," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 50-76, Summer.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:92952. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbphus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbphus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.