NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Ferdinand Rauch

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January 2013Tasks and Technology in the United States 1880-2000
with Guy Michaels, Stephen J. Redding: w18715
We provide theory and evidence on changes in task inputs in the United States from 1880-2000. We combine a Roy model of worker selection across occupations with a new methodology for measuring individual production tasks performed by workers within occupations. We show that the recently-documented rise in non-routine tasks and decline in manual tasks extends much further back than hitherto thought to the late-nineteenth century. We reveal substantial heterogeneity within these broad categories of tasks, with those involving the formation of ideas increasing by up to twice the growth for non-routine tasks as a whole, and those involving the manipulation of inorganic matter decreasing by nearly twice the overall decline for manual tasks. We establish that these changes in task inputs are ex...

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