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Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings

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  • Brad Hershbein
  • Lisa B. Kahn

Abstract

We show that skill requirements in job vacancy postings differentially increased in MSAs that were hit hard by the Great Recession, relative to less hard-hit areas. These increases persist through at least the end of 2015 and are correlated with increases in capital investments, both at the MSA and firm-levels. We also find that effects are most pronounced in routine-cognitive occupations, which exhibit relative wage growth as well. We argue that this evidence is consistent with the restructuring of production toward routine-biased technologies and the more-skilled workers that complement them, and that the Great Recession accelerated this process.

Suggested Citation

  • Brad Hershbein & Lisa B. Kahn, 2016. "Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings," NBER Working Papers 22762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22762
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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