Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2690435
 


 



How Computer Automation Affects Occupations: Technology, Jobs, and Skills


James E. Bessen


Boston University - School of Law; Research on Innovation

May 16, 2016

Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 15-49

Abstract:     
This paper investigates basic relationships between technology and occupations. Building a general occupational model, I look at detailed occupations since 1980 to explore whether computers are related to job losses or other sources of wage inequality. Occupations that use computers grow faster, not slower. This is true even for highly routine and mid-wage occupations. Estimates reject computers as a source of significant net technological unemployment or job polarization. But computerized occupations substitute for other occupations, shifting employment and requiring new skills. Because new skills are costly to learn, computer use is associated with substantially greater within-occupation wage inequality.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: technology, automation, human capital, job polarization, occupations, wage inequality

JEL Classification: O33, J24, J31


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Date posted: November 15, 2015 ; Last revised: August 2, 2016

Suggested Citation

Bessen, James E., How Computer Automation Affects Occupations: Technology, Jobs, and Skills (May 16, 2016). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 15-49. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2690435 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2690435

Contact Information

James E. Bessen (Contact Author)
Boston University - School of Law ( email )
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
Research on Innovation ( email )
202 High Head Rd.
Harpswell, ME 04079
United States
617-531-2092 (Phone)
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