Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labor Markets

27 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013

See all articles by David H. Autor

David H. Autor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Dorn

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in U.S. local labor markets between 1990 and 2007. Labor markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labor markets susceptible to computerization due to specialization in routine task-intensive activities experience significant occupational polarization within manufacturing and non-manufacturing but no net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerization of information-processing tasks in non-manufacturing.

Keywords: technological change, trade flows, import competition, skill demand, job tasks, local labor markets

JEL Classification: F16, J21, J23, O33

Suggested Citation

Autor, David H. and Dorn, David and Hanson, Gordon H., Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labor Markets. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7329. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2250328

David H. Autor (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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David Dorn

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

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Germany

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

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La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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