Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets

26 Pages Posted: 27 May 2015

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)

Date Written: May 2015

Abstract

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in US local labour markets between 1980 and 2007. Labour 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. Labour markets susceptible to computerisation due to specialisation in routine task‐intensive activities instead experience occupational polarisation within manufacturing and non‐manufacturing but do not experience a 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 computerisation of information‐processing tasks in non‐manufacturing.

Suggested Citation

Autor, David H. and Dorn, David and Hanson, Gordon H., Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets (May 2015). The Economic Journal, Vol. 125, Issue 584, pp. 621-646, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2610907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12245

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

P.O. Box 7240
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David Dorn

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Gordon H. Hanson

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

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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