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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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  8. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and structural transformation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25495, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. 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.
  10. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2014. "Competition and Ideological Diversity: Historical Evidence from US Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3073-3114, October.
  11. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2004. "Structural change in a multi-sector model of growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3550, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2001. "From sectoral to functional urban specialisation," Working Papers dpuga-01-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Gaspar, Jess & Glaeser, Edward L., 1998. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 136-156, January.
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  17. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Raymond E. Owens, 2005. "Firm fragmentation and urban patterns," Working Paper 05-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  18. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805, 05.
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  23. David H. Autor & Michael J. Handel, 2013. "Putting Tasks to the Test: Human Capital, Job Tasks, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages S59 - S96.
  24. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2009. "The Complementarity between Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 15103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Duranton, Gilles & Jayet, Hubert, 2011. "Is the division of labour limited by the extent of the market? Evidence from French cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 56-71, January.
  26. 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.
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  28. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "Decreasing Costs in International Trade and Frank Graham's Argument for Protection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1243-68, September.
  29. 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.
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