Long-Run Adaptation to Workplace Technological Change

Project Date:
Jun 2015
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

The recent displacement of workers by computers has sparked interest in the future of work and occupations. Research on technological changes and increasing wage inequality are receiving growing attention. However, despite its relevance, there is little empirical evidence on the trajectories of workers displaced by a new technology.

Economists Miguel Morin and Rowena Gray will analyze the changing structure of American jobs between 1900 and 1940 in response to the spread of electrification. They will produce a comprehensive data set consisting of five parts: task measures from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, longitudinal household-level occupations and demographics, wages at the occupation- and city-level, firm-level information on technology adoption, and a map of the electricity network. Morin and Gray will then use the variation of the electricity network with the data set to map exposure to the electricity grid and estimate the effect of electrification on the skill and wage structures of workers replaced by electrical machinery.

The Russell Sage Foundation
Journal of the Social Sciences

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