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Task Specialization in U.S. Cities from 1880-2000

  • Ferdinand Rauch
  • Guy Michaels
  • Stephen J. Redding

We develop a new methodology for quantifying the tasks undertaken within occupations using 3,000 verbs from around 12,000 occupational descriptions in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOTs).� Using micro-data from the United States from 1880-2000, we find an increase in the employment share of interactive occupations within sectors over time that is larger in metro areas than non-metro areas.� We provide evidence that this increase in the interactiveness of employment is related to the dissemination of improvements in transport and communication technologies.� Our findings highlight a change in the nature of agglomeration over time towards an increased emphasis on human interaction.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12552/paper638.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 638.

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Date of creation: 11 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:638
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  9. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga & Sebastien Roux, 2009. "The productivity advantages of large cities: Distinguishing agglomeration from firm selection," Working Papers tecipa-353, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "Structural change in a multi-sector model of growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4468, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Jess Gaspar & Edward Glaeser, 1996. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," NBER Working Papers 5562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bacolod, Marigee & Blum, Bernardo S. & Strange, William C., 2009. "Skills in the city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 136-153, March.
  13. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2001. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation, and the Life Cycle of Products," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1454-1477, December.
  14. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Power Couples: Changes In The Locational Choice Of The College Educated, 1940-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1287-1315, November.
  15. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  16. Duranton, Gilles & Jayet, Hubert, 2005. "Is the Division of Labour Limited By the Extent of the Market? Evidence from French Cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 5087, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Henderson, J. Vernon, 2003. "Marshall's scale economies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-28, January.
  18. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2013. "Offshoring and the onshore composition of tasks and skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 91-106.
  19. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and Structural Transformation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0892, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  20. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  21. Marigee Bacolod & Bernardo S. Blum & William C. Strange, 2009. "Urban interactions: soft skills versus specialization," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 227-262, March.
  22. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805, 05.
  23. Morris A. Davis & Francois Ortalo-Magne, 2011. "Household Expenditures, Wages, Rents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 248-261, April.
  24. David H. Autor & Michael J. Handel, 2009. "Putting Tasks to the Test: Human Capital, Job Tasks and Wages," NBER Working Papers 15116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 2007. "Agglomeration, opportunism, and the organization of production," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 55-75, July.
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