Where does new work come from?

Grant Type: academic

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $76,000

Grant description:

This project will construct a database of new work from 1900 to 2020 by compiling a list of job titles from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Alphabetical Index of Occupations. Previous research on “new work” measures the introduction of new job titles beginning in 1964 and documents that new work is performed by high-skilled workers and in cities. Preliminary work in this project indicates that at least some of these previously documented patterns may not have been true in the middle of the 20th century. The authors’ aim is: to chart the evolution of new work over 12 decades; to assess the potentially varying importance of new work in job creation and skill demands during different epochs in this period; and to test a set of economic hypotheses about where and when new work arises.

The project has the potential to provide insight into why the locus of job creation, measured in terms of occupations, industries, skill demands, and wage levels has varied across decades, and the role of new technologies in the creation of new work. In addition to compiling job titles from U.S. Census data, the researchers will link the text of patents to new job titles to explore the impact of new technologies on jobs, and will link to the Consumer Expenditure Survey to measure demand shifts for the relatively recent period (from 1980 onward) to test the hypothesis that demand shifts may lead to new work.

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