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Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labor Markets

  • Autor, David

    ()

    (MIT)

  • Dorn, David

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

  • Hanson, Gordon H.

    ()

    (University of California, San Diego)

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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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7329.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Economic Journal
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7329
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