NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Horizontal and Vertical Polarization: Task-Specific Technological Change in a Multi-Sector Economy

Sang Yoon Lee, Yongseok Shin

NBER Working Paper No. 23283
Issued in March 2017
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We analyze the effect of technological change in a novel framework that integrates an economy's skill distribution with its occupational and industrial structure. Individuals become managers or workers based on their managerial vs. worker skills, and workers further sort into a continuum of tasks (occupations) ranked by skill content. Our theory dictates that faster technological progress for middle-skill tasks not only raises the employment shares and relative wages of lower- and higher-skill occupations among workers (horizontal polarization), but also raises those of managers over workers as a whole (vertical polarization). Both dimensions of polarization are faster within sectors that depend more on middle-skill tasks and less on managers. This endogenously leads to faster TFP growth of such sectors, whose employment and value-added shares shrink if sectoral goods are complementary (structural change). We present several novel facts that support our model, followed by a quantitative analysis showing that task-specific technological progress--which was fastest for occupations embodying routine-manual tasks but not interpersonal skills--is important for understanding changes in the sectoral, occupational, and organizational structure of the U.S. economy since 1980.

download in pdf format
   (809 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23283

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Acemoglu and Restrepo w23285 Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets
Stokey w22176 Technology, Skill and the Wage Structure
Irwin w23037 The Missing Bretton Woods Debate over Flexible Exchange Rates
Asturias, Hur, Kehoe, and Ruhl w23202 Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth
Stinebrickner, Stinebrickner, and Sullivan w24079 Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages
 
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