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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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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
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  12. Michaels, Guy & Rauch, Ferdinand & Redding, Stephen J., 2008. "Urbanization and Structural Transformation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7016, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
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  19. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
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  21. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri & Greg. C. Wright, 2010. "Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs," Development Working Papers 298, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
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