NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Micro and Macro of Disappearing Routine Jobs: A Flows Approach

Guido Matias Cortes, Nir Jaimovich, Christopher J. Nekarda, Henry E. Siu

NBER Working Paper No. 20307
Issued in July 2014
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS

The U.S. labor market has become increasingly polarized since the 1980s, with the share of employment in middle-wage occupations shrinking over time. This job polarization process has been associated with the disappearance of per capita employment in occupations focused on routine tasks. We use matched individual-level data from the CPS to study labor market flows into and out of routine occupations and determine how this disappearance has played out at the "micro" and "macro" levels. At the macro level, we determine which changes in transition rates account for the disappearance of routine employment since the 1980s. We find that changes in three transition rate categories are of primary importance: (i) that from unemployment to employment in routine occupations, (ii) that from labor force non-participation to routine employment, and (iii) that from routine employment to non-participation. At the micro level, we study how these transition rates have changed since job polarization, and the extent to which these changes are accounted for by changes in demographic composition or changes in the behavior of individuals with particular demographic characteristics. We find that the preponderance of changes is due to the propensity of individuals to make such transitions, and relatively little due to demographics. Moreover, we find that changes in the transition propensities of the young are of primary importance in accounting for the fall in routine employment.

download in pdf format
   (2373 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20307

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Heiss, Venti, and Wise w20306 The Persistence and Heterogeneity of Health among Older Americans
Kilenthong and Townsend w20275 A Market Based Solution to Price Externalities: A Generalized Framework
Arora, Cohen, and Walsh w20264 The Acquisition and Commercialization of Invention in American Manufacturing: Incidence and Impact
Schorfheide, Song, and Yaron w20303 Identifying Long-Run Risks: A Bayesian Mixed-Frequency Approach
Bordo, Choudhri, Fazio, and MacDonald w20228 The Real Exchange Rate in the Long Run: Balassa-Samuelson Effects Reconsidered
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us