IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Growth of Low Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market

  • Autor, David

    ()

    (MIT)

  • Dorn, David

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

We offer an integrated explanation and empirical analysis of the polarization of U.S. employment and wages between 1980 and 2005, and the concurrent growth of low skill service occupations. We attribute polarization to the interaction between consumer preferences, which favor variety over specialization, and the falling cost of automating routine, codifiable job tasks. Applying a spatial equilibrium model, we derive, test, and confirm four implications of this hypothesis. Local labor markets that were specialized in routine activities differentially adopted information technology, reallocated low skill labor into service occupations (employment polarization), experienced earnings growth at the tails of the distribution (wage polarization), and received inflows of skilled labor.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7068.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7068.

as
in new window

Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (5), 1553-1597
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7068
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ngai, Liwa Rachel & Pissarides, Christopher, 2004. "Structural Change in a Multi-Sector Model of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 4763, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2009. "Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach," NBER Working Papers 15287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  4. David H. Autor & Alan Manning & Christopher L. Smith, 2010. "The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to U.S. Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 16533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michaels, Guy & Natraj, Ashwini & Van Reenen, John, 2010. "Has ICT Polarized Skill Demand? Evidence from Eleven Countries over 25 years," CEPR Discussion Papers 7898, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Real Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 14370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  9. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise in the Disability Rolls and the Decline in Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-206.
  15. Francesca Mazzolari & Giuseppe Ragusa, 2013. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 74-86, March.
  16. Matthias Weiss, 2004. "Skill-Biased Technological Change: Is there Hope for the Unskilled?," MEA discussion paper series 04045, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  17. Autor, David & Dorn, David, 2009. "This Job Is 'Getting Old:' Measuring Changes in Job Opportunities Using Occupational Age Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 3970, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Alan Manning, 2004. "We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low skill workers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19948, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. John Bound & Harry J. Holzer, 1996. "Demand Shifts, Population Adjustments, and Labor Market Outcomes during the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 5685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2010. "Should the Personal Computer Be Considered a Technological Revolution? Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(5), pages 988 - 1036.
  21. Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2011. "The Incidence of Local Labor Demand Shocks," NBER Working Papers 17167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: the Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low Skill Workers," CEP Discussion Papers dp0640, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  23. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
  24. Lefter, Alexandru & Sand, Benjamin M., 2011. "Job Polarization in the U.S.: A Reassessment of the Evidence from the 1980s and 1990s," Economics Working Paper Series 1103, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  25. Peter B. Meyer & Anastasiya M. Osborne, 2005. "Proposed Category System for 1960-2000 Census Occupations," Working Papers 383, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  26. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
  27. Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 2012. "Occupational tasks and changes in the wage structure," Textos para discussão 284, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  28. Nordhaus, William D., 2007. "Two Centuries of Productivity Growth in Computing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(01), pages 128-159, March.
  29. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  30. repec:pri:cepsud:190blinder is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market (AER 2013) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7068. 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: (Mark Fallak)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.