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Structural Transformation and the Rise of Information Technology

Listed author(s):
  • Giovanni Gallipoli

    ()

    (Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, Canada; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis)

  • Christos A. Makridis

    ()

    (Department of Management Science & Engineering, Department of Economics, Stanford University, USA)

Has the emergence of information technology changed the structure of employment and earnings in the US? We propose a new index of occupation-level IT intensity and document several long-term changes in the occupational landscape over the past decades. Using Census micro-data between 1970 and 2015, we show that: (i) the share of workers in IT-intensive jobs has expanded significantly, with little or no pause; (ii) IT jobs enjoy a large and growing earnings premium, even after controlling for general task requirements (e.g., cognitive, non-routine); and (iii) the rise of the IT employment share is closely associated with declines in the manufacturing employment share. Although the earnings premia for college-educated and high cognitive/non-routine skilled workers have declined in the aggregate since 2000, we show that they have continued growing in IT jobs. We subsequently introduce an equilibrium model of occupational sorting based on comparative advantage between IT and non-IT jobs to quantify the contribution of IT jobs towards accelerating the pace of structural transformation. Our results suggest that technological growth among IT jobs has played a major role in accounting for the surge in high tech service labor productivity since 1980.

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File URL: http://www.rcea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp17-30.pdf
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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 17-30.

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Date of creation: Dec 2017
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:17-30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://rcea.org

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  1. Chad Syverson, 2017. "Challenges to Mismeasurement Explanations for the US Productivity Slowdown," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 165-186, Spring.
  2. Autor, David H., 2013. "The "task approach" to labor markets : an overview," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 46(3), pages 185-199.
  3. Timo Boppart, 2014. "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts in a Growth Model With Relative Price Effects and Non‐Gorman Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2167-2196, November.
  4. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-Product Versus Within-Product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 647-678.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
  6. repec:iab:iabjlr:v:46:i:3:p:185-199 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
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