Seminario "Occupational Exposure to Capital-Embodied Technical Change"

Miércoles 5/5, 17h

Presentado por Julieta Caunedo
Paper Abstract
Much of technological progress is embodied in capital and realized through the availability of new, more efficient, capital goods. How does capital-embodied technical change (CETC) impact the labor market? We study workers’ exposure to CETC at the occupation level by unpacking the cross-price elasticity of occupational labor demand. To do so, we construct a novel dataset of the stocks and prices of different types of capital used by workers in each occupation. Our dataset yields the first available occupational estimates of CETC and of the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor. CETC varies substantially across occupations, but it is the heterogeneity in the elasticity of substitution which fuels differences in workers’ exposure and ultimately sets the direction of the labor reallocation triggered by CETC. We evaluate the impact of CETC in a general equilibrium model of endogenous sorting of workers across occupations of different CETC and complementarity between capital and labor. CETC explains 91% of labor reallocation in the US between 1982 and 2015: it is responsible for virtually all of the gains in employment in high-skill occupations, and for 74% of the employment losses in middle-skill occupations. A forecasting exercise for the US economy in 2005 suggests that occupational disparities in the pace of CETC over the previous 10 years are a strong predictor of employment flows in these occupations over the subsequent 10 years.

Jointly written with David Jaume & Elisa Keller

Julieta Caunedo
Ph.D. in Economics, Washington University in St. Louis. Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at Cornell University. She is affiliated researcher at CEPR, Y-RISE and ATAI, and a theme leader for STEG. 
Her research interests include macroeconomics and development, with emphasis on the impact of technology for productivity and the labor market. 

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