Computerization of White Collar Jobs

77 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2022 Last revised: 10 Aug 2022

See all articles by Marcus Dillender

Marcus Dillender

University of Illinois at Chicago - School of Public Health - Division of Health Policy and Administration

Eliza Forsythe

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2022

Abstract

We investigate the impact of computerization of white-collar jobs on wages and employment. Using online job postings from 2007 and 2010--2016 for office and administrative support (OAS) jobs, we show that when firms adopt new software at the job-title level they increase the skills required of job applicants. Furthermore, firms change the task content of such jobs, broadening them to include tasks associated with higher-skill office functions. We aggregate these patterns to the local labor-market level, instrumenting for local technology adoption with national measures. We find that a 1 standard deviation increase in OAS technology usage reduces employment in OAS occupations by about 1 percentage point and increases wages for college graduates in OAS jobs by over 3 percent. We find negative wage spillovers, with wages falling for both workers with and without a college degree. These results are consistent with technological adoption inducing a realignment in task assignment across occupations, leading office support occupations to become higher skill. We argue relative wage gains for OAS workers indicates that factor-augmenting features of OAS technological change dominate task-substituting features. In addition, while we find that total employment increases, these gains primarily accrue to college-educated women.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Dillender, Marcus and Forsythe, Eliza and Forsythe, Eliza, Computerization of White Collar Jobs (March 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w29866, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4068036

Marcus Dillender (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - School of Public Health - Division of Health Policy and Administration ( email )

1603 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612
United States

Eliza Forsythe

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

410 David Kinley Hall
1407 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations ( email )

504 East Armory Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820-6297
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/elizaforsythe/

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
2
Abstract Views
79
PlumX Metrics