Working Paper 2018-05: Enghin Atalay, Phai Phongthiengtham, Sebastian Sotelo, Daniel Tannenbaum
Enghin Atalay, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Phai Phongthiengtham, Ph.D. student in Economics, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Sebastian Sotelo, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Daniel Tannenbaum, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Using newspaper job ad text from 1960 to 2000, we measure job tasks and the adoption of individual information and communication technologies (ICTs). Most new technologies are associated with an increase in nonroutine analytic tasks, and a decrease in nonroutine interactive, routine cognitive, and routine manual tasks. We embed these interactions in a quantitative model of worker sorting across occupations and technology adoption. Through the lens of the model, the arrival of ICTs broadly shifts workers away from routine tasks, which increases the college premium. A notable exception is the Microsoft Office suite, which has the opposite set of effects.