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Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations

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  • Maximiliano Dvorkin
  • Alexander Monge-Naranjo

Abstract

We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with occupation mobility, human capital accumulation and endogenous assignment of workers to tasks to quantitatively assess the aggregate impact of automation and other task-biased technological innovations. We extend recent quantitative general equilibrium Roy models to a setting with dynamic occupational choices and human capital accumulation. We provide a set of conditions for the problem of workers to be written in recursive form and provide a sharp characterization for the optimal mobility of individual workers and for the aggregate supply of skills across occupations. We craft our dynamic Roy model in a production setting where multiple tasks within occupations are assigned to workers or machines. We solve for the balanced-growth path and characterize the aggregate transitional dynamics ensuing task-biased technological innovations. In our quantitative analysis of the impact of task-biased innovations in the U.S. since 1980, we find that they account for an increased aggregate output in the order of 75% and for a much higher dispersion in earnings. If the U.S. economy had higher barriers to mobility, it would have experienced less job polarization but substantially higher inequality and lower output as occupation mobility has provided an "escape" for the losers from automation.

Suggested Citation

  • Maximiliano Dvorkin & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2019. "Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations," Working Papers 2019-064, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2019-064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo Adão & Martin Beraja & Nitya Pandalai-Nayar, 2020. "Technological Transitions with Skill Heterogeneity Across Generations," NBER Working Papers 26625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dynamic roy models; automation; human capital; aggregation;

    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
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

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