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Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labor Markets

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

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 nonmanufacturing 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18938.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Publication status: published as Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets David H. Autor1,*, David Dorn2 andGordon H. Hanson3 The Economic Journal Volume 125, Issue 584, pages 621–646, May 2015
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18938
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  1. Erhan Artuç & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2010. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1008-45, June.
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  9. Barry Naughton, 2007. "The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640643.
  10. 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).
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  13. Oldenski, Lindsay, 2012. "Export Versus FDI and the Communication of Complex Information," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 312-322.
  14. Yuyu Chen & Ginger Zhe Jin & Yang Yue, 2010. "Peer Migration in China," NBER Working Papers 15671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. 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.
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