NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings

Brad Hershbein, Lisa B. Kahn

NBER Working Paper No. 22762
Issued in October 2016, Revised in September 2017
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We show that skill requirements in job vacancy postings differentially increased in MSAs that were hit hard by the Great Recession, relative to less hard-hit areas. These increases persist through at least the end of 2015 and are correlated with increases in capital investments, both at the MSA and firm-levels. We also find that effects are most pronounced in routine-cognitive occupations, which exhibit relative wage growth as well. We argue that this evidence is consistent with the restructuring of production toward routine-biased technologies and the more-skilled workers that complement them, and that the Great Recession accelerated this process.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22762

Published: Brad Hershbein & Lisa B. Kahn, 2017. "Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings," Employment Research, vol 24(4), pages 1-4.

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