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Task specialization in U.S. cities from 1880-2000

Michaels, Guy, Rauch, Ferdinand and Redding, Stephen (2013) Task specialization in U.S. cities from 1880-2000. NBER working paper (18715). The National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, USA.

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We develop a new methodology for quantifying the tasks undertaken within occupations using 3,000 verbs from around 12,000 occupational descriptions in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOTs).Using micro-data from the United States from 1880-2000, we find an increase in the employment share of interactive occupations within sectors over time that is larger in metro areas than non-metro areas. We provide evidence that this increase in the interactiveness of employment is related to the dissemination of improvements in transport and communication technologies. Our findings highlight a change in the nature of agglomeration over time towards an increased emphasis on human interaction.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N9 - Regional and Urban History > N92 - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O18 - Regional, Urban, and Rural Analyses
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2013 08:36
Last Modified: 25 Dec 2020 00:31

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