Poster Paper: White Collar Technological Change: Evidence from Job Postings

Friday, November 3, 2017
Regency Ballroom (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Eliza C. Forsythe, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Marcus Dillender, -

We connect three concurrent macroeconomic trends for office and administrative support (OAS) occupations: falling employment share since the 1980s, rising education, and disruptive technological change with the advent of the personal computer and associated software. Using online job postings from 2007 and 2010 through 2015, we show that as firms adopt software, they increase the requested skill requirements of job applicants in these support occupations. Using an instrumental variables approach, we link local adoption of technology to occupational employment shares, employment rates, education, and wages. We argue our evidence is consistent with a process of technological adoption that substitutes for routine aspects of the job while at the same time complements cognitive aspects of the job, leading these support jobs to become less routine and higher-skill.