WorldCat Identities

Autor, David H.

Works: 129 works in 578 publications in 1 language and 5,017 library holdings
Genres: Conference papers and proceedings  History 
Roles: Author, Contributor, Editor
Classifications: HB1, 330
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by David H Autor
Studies of labor market intermediation( )

11 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 1,533 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

From the craft hiring hall to, many institutions exist to facilitate the matching of workers with firms. This study analyzes how these third-party actors intercede where workers and firms meet, thereby aiding, impeding, and, in some cases, exploiting the matching process
Computing inequality : have computers changed the labor market? by David H Autor( Book )

16 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 115 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper examines the effect of technological change and other factors on the relative demand for workers with different education levels and on the recent growth of U.S. educational wage differentials. A simple supply-demand framework is used to interpret changes in the relative quantities, wages, and wage bill shares of workers by education in the aggregate U.S. labor market in each decade since 1940 and from 1990 to 1995. The results suggest that the relative demand for college graduates grew more rapidly on average during the past 25 years (1970-95) than during the previous three decades (1940-70). The increased rate of growth of relative demand for college graduates beginning in the 1970s did not lead to an increase in the college/high school wage diffe- rential until the 1980s because the growth in the supply of college graduates increased even more sharply in the 1970s before returning to historical levels in the 1980s. The acceleration in demand shifts for more-skilled workers in the 1970s and 1980s relative to the 1960s is entirely accounted for by an increase in within-industry changes in skill utilization rather than between- industry employment shifts. Industries with large increases in the rate of skill upgrading in the 1970s and 1980s versus the 1960s are those with greater growth in employee computer usage, more computer capital per worker and larger investment as a share of total investment. The results suggest that the spread of computer technology may èxplain' as much as 30-50% of the increase in the rate of growth of the relative demand for more-skilled workers since 1970
Upstairs, downstairs : computer-skill complementarity and computer-labor substitution on two floors of a large bank by David H Autor( Book )

18 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We describe how a single technological innovation, the introduction of image processing of checks, led to distinctly different changes in the structure of jobs in two departments of a large bank overseen by one group of managers. In the downstairs deposit processing department, image processing led to the substitution of computers for high school educated labor in accomplishing core tasks and in greater specialization in the jobs that remained. In the upstairs exceptions processing department, image processing led to the integration of tasks, with an associated increase in the demand for particular skills. The case illustrates the interdependence of technological change and organizational change. It suggests that seeing the whole picture' and associated conceptual and problem-solving skills are made more valuable by information technologies. Finally, it underscores that the short-term consequences of technological changes may depend importantly on regulatory forces
The rise in disability recipiency and the decline in unemployment by David H Autor( Book )

15 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Between 1984 and 2000, the share of non-elderly adults receiving benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs rose from 3.1 to 5.3 percent. We trace this growth to reduced screening stringency and, due to the interaction between growing wage inequality and a progressive benefits formula, a rising earnings replacement rate. We explore the implications of these changes for the level of labor force participation among the less skilled and their employment responses to adverse employment shocks. Following program liberalization in 1984, DI application and recipiency rates became two to three times as responsive to plausibly exogenous labor demand shocks. Contemporaneously, male and female high school dropouts became increasingly likely to exit the labor force rather than enter unemployment in the event of an adverse shock. The liberalization of the disability program appears to explain both facts. Accounting for the role of disability in inducing labor force exit among the low-skilled unemployed, we calculate that the U.S. unemployment rate would be two-thirds of a percentage point higher at present were it not for the liberalized disability system
Why do temporary help firms provide free general skills training? by David H Autor( Book )

15 editions published between 2000 and 2001 in English and held by 107 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The majority of U.S. temporary help supply firms (THS) offer nominally free, unrestricted computer skills training, a practice inconsistent with the competitive model of training. I propose and test a model in which firms offer general training to induce self-selection and perform screening of worker ability. The model implies, and the data confirm, that firms providing training attract higher ability workers yet pay them lower wages after training. Thus, beyond providing spot market labor, THS firms sell information about worker quality to their clients. The rapid growth of THS employment suggests that demand for worker screening is rising. Keywords: Asymmetric, Private Information, Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials by Skill, Training, Occupation, etc. (Industry, Schooling, Experience, Tenure, Cohort, etc.)
Wiring the labor market by David H Autor( Book )

16 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 107 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Workers and jobs are naturally heterogeneous and the quality of their interaction when paired is difficult to forecast. The Internet promises to open new channels for worker-firm communications. What are the consequences of this opening? I discuss three labor market features that may be altered: how worker-firm matches are made; how labor services are delivered; and how local markets shape labor demand. Theory predicts these developments will produce social benefits. But the gains are unlikely to be uniform and realizing them will generate novel problems. One result may be the formation of new institutions to address issues accompanying these opportunities
Women, war and wages : the effect of female labor supply on the wage structure at mid-century by Daron Acemoglu( Book )

14 editions published in 2002 in English and held by 104 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper investigates the effects of female labor supply on the wage structure. To identify variation in female labor supply, we exploit the military mobilization for World War II, which drew many women into the workforce as males exited civilian employment. The extent of mobilization was not uniform across states, however, with the fraction of eligible males serving ranging from 41 to 54 percent. We find that in states with greater mobilization of men, women worked substantially more after the War and in 1950, though not in 1940. We interpret these differentials as labor supply shifts induced by the War. We find that increases in female labor supply lower female wages, lower male wages, and increase the college and premium and male wage inequality generally. Our findings indicate that at mid-century, women were closer substitutes to high school graduate and relatively low-skill males, but not to those with the lowest skills
Outsourcing at will : unjust dismissal doctrine and the growth of temporary help employment by David H Autor( Book )

13 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 103 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Abstract: The U.S. temporary help services (THS) industry grew at 11 percent annually between 1979 to 1995, five times more rapidly than non-farm employment. Contemporaneously, courts in 46 states adopted exceptions to the common law doctrine of employment at will that limit employers' discretion to terminate workers and opened them to litigation. This paper assesses whether the decline of employment at will and the growth of THS are causally related. To aid the analysis, the paper considers a simple model of employment outsourcing, the primary implication of which is that firms will respond to externally imposed firing costs by outsourcing positions requiring the least firm-specific skills rather than those with the highest expected termination costs. The empirical analysis indicates that one class of exception, the implied contractual right to ongoing employment, led to 14 to 22 percent excess temporary help growth in adopting states. Unjust dismissal doctrines did not significantly contribute to employment growth in other business service industries. Temporary help employment is closely correlated with union penetration, with states experiencing the least rapid decline in unionization undergoing substantially faster THS growth. The decline of employment at will explains as much as 20 percent of the growth of THS between 1973 to 1995 and accounts for 336,000 to 494,000 additional workers employed in THS on a daily basis as of 1999
The skill content of recent technological change : an empirical exploration by David H Autor( Book )

14 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We apply an understanding of what computers do - the execution of procedural or rules-based logic - to study how computer technology alters job skill demands. We contend that computer capital (1) substitutes for a limited and well-defined set of human activities, those involving routine (repetitive) cognitive and manual tasks; and (2) complements activities involving non-routine problem solving and interactive tasks. Provided these tasks are imperfect substitutes, our model implies measurable changes in the task content of employment, which we explore using representative data on job task requirements over 1960-1998. Computerization is associated with declining relative industry demand for routine manual and cognitive tasks and increased relative demand for non-routine cognitive tasks. Shifts are evident within detailed industries, within detailed occupation, and within education groups within industries. Translating observed taskshifts into educational demands, the sum of within-industry and within-occupation task changes explains thirty to forty percent of the observed relative demand shift favoring college versus non-college labor during 1970 to 1998, with the largest impact felt after 1980. Changes in task content within nominally identical occupations explain more than half of the overall demand shift induced by computerization. Keywords: Technological Change, Inequality, Computerization, Labor Demand, Demand for Skill
The costs of wrongful-discharge laws by David H Autor( )

13 editions published between 2002 and 2003 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We estimate the effects on employment and wages of wrongful-discharge protections in the United States. Over the last three decades, most U.S. state courts have adopted one or more common law wrongful-discharge doctrines that limit employers' discretion to terminate workers at-will. Using this cross-state variation with a difference-in-difference framework, we find robust evidence of a modest negative impact ( -0.8 to -1.6 percentage points) of one wrongful-discharge doctrine, the implied-contract exception, on employment to population rates in state labor markets. The short-term impact is most pronounced for female, younger, and less-skilled workers, while the longer term costs appear to be borne by older and more-educated workers - those most likely to litigate under this doctrine. We find no robust employment or wage effects of two other widely recognized wrongful-discharge laws: the public-policy and good-faith exceptions. Published findings in the literature range from no effect to very large negative effects. We re-analyze the two leading studies and find the discrepancies can be explained by methodological shortcomings in the one case and limitations in the coding of key court decisions in the other. Keywords: Employment Protection, Wrongful Discharge, Unjust Dismissal, Employment at Will, Labor Law, Instrumental Variables. JEL Classification: E24, J23, J32, J38, J83, K12, K31
Will job testing harm minority workers? by David H Autor( Book )

11 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 91 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Because minorities typically fare poorly on standardized tests, job testing is thought to pose an equity-efficiency trade-off: testing improves selection but reduces minority hiring. We evaluate this trade-off using data from a national retail firm whose 1,363 stores switched from informal to test-based worker screening. We find that testing yielded more productive hires -- raising median tenure by 10 percent and reducing the frequency of firing for cause. Consistent with prior research, minorities performed significantly worse on the test. Yet, testing had no measurable impact on minority hiring, and productivity gains were uniformly large among minorities and non-minorities. We show formally that these results imply that employers were effectively statistically discriminating prior to the introduction of testing -- that is, their screening practices already accounted for expected productivity differences between applicant groups. Consequently, testing improved selection of both minority and non-minority applicants, but did not alter the racial composition of hiring
The growth in the social security disability rolls : a fiscal crisis unfolding by David H Autor( )

12 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 87 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

More than 80 percent of nonelderly U.S. adults are insured against the risk of disabling physical or mental illness by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This article evaluates the causes of the extraordinary growth in SSDI enrollment, considers its fiscal ramifications, and discusses potential policy responses. While aggregate population health has improved by most measures in recent decades, the rate of SSDI receipt among nonelderly adults has nearly doubled since 1984. We project that SSDI receipt will rise by an additional seventy percent before reaching a steady state rate of approximately 6.5 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 64, with cash benefit payments exceeding $150 billion annually (excluding Medicare). We trace the rapid expansion of SSDI to: (1) congressional reforms to disability screening in 1984 that enabled workers with low mortality disorders such as back pain, arthritis and mental illness to more readily qualify for benefits; (2) a rise in the after-tax DI income replacement rate, which strengthened the incentives for workers to seek benefits; (3) and a rapid increase in female labor force participation that expanded the pool of insured workers. Notably, the aging of the baby boom generation has contributed little to the growth of SSDI to date. Among several avenues for reducing SSDI growth, we suggest that the most promising are revamping the disability appeals process--in which the Social Security Administration currently loses nearly three-quarters of all appeals--and reducing the attractiveness of DI benefits for work-capable disabled individuals by providing additional access to public health insurance. By contrast, previous efforts to reduce the SSDI rolls by discontinuing benefits or by providing stronger return-to-work incentives have proved remarkably unsuccessful
Rising wage inequality : the role of composition and prices by David H Autor( Book )

12 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 86 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"During the early 1980s, earnings inequality in the U.S. labor market rose relatively uniformly throughout the wage distribution. But this uniformity gave way to a significant divergence starting in 1987, with upper-tail (90/50) inequality rising steadily and lower tail (50/10) inequality either flattening or compressing for the next 16 years (1987 to 2003). This paper applies and extends a quantile decomposition technique proposed by Machado and Mata (2005) to evaluate the role of changing labor force composition (in terms of education and experience) and changing labor market prices to the expansion and subsequent divergence of upper- and lower-tail inequality over the last three decades We show that the extended Machado-Mata quantile decomposition corrects shortcomings of the original Juhn-Murphy-Pierce (1993) full distribution accounting method and nests the kernel reweighting approach proposed by DiNardo, Fortin and Lemieux (1996). Our analysis reveals that shifts in labor force composition have positively impacted earnings inequality during the 1990s. But these compositional shifts have primarily operated on the lower half of the earnings distribution by muting a contemporaneous, countervailing lower-tail price compression. The steady rise of upper tail inequality since the late 1970s appears almost entirely explained by ongoing between-group price changes (particularly increasing wage differentials by education) and residual price changes"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site
Temporary agency employment as a way out of poverty? by David H Autor( )

13 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 86 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The high incidence of temporary agency employment among participants in government employment programs has catalyzed debate about whether these jobs help the poor transition into stable employment and out of poverty. We provide direct evidence on this question through analysis of a Michigan welfare-to-work program in which program participants were randomly allocated across service providers ('contractors') with different job placement practices. We draw on a telephone survey of contractors and on administrative program data linked with wage records data on all participants entering the program over a three-and-a half-year period. Our survey evidence documents a consensus among contractors that temporary help jobs are generally easier for those with weak skills and experience to obtain, but no consensus on whether temporary help jobs confer long-term benefits to participants. Our analysis of the quasi-experimental data introduced in Autor and Houseman (2005) shows that placing participants in either temporary or direct-hire jobs improves their odds of leaving welfare and escaping poverty in the short term. However, we find that only direct-hire placements help reduce welfare dependency over longer time horizons. Our findings raise questions about the incentive structure of many government employment programs that emphasize rapid placement of program participants into jobs and that may inadvertently encourage high placement rates with temporary help agencies
Trends in U.S. wage inequality : re-assessing the revisionists by David H Autor( Book )

12 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 84 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"A large literature documents a substantial rise in U.S. wage inequality and educational wage differentials over the past several decades and finds that these trends can be primarily accounted for by shifts in the supply of and demand for skills reinforced by the erosion of labor market institutions affecting the wages of low- and middle-wage workers. Drawing on an additional decade of data, a number of recent contributions reject this consensus to conclude that (1) the rise in wage inequality was an "episodic" event of the first-half of the 1980s rather than a secular phenomenon, (2) this rise was largely caused by a falling minimum wage rather than by supply and demand factors; and (3) rising residual wage inequality since the mid-1980s is explained by confounding effects of labor force composition rather than true increases in inequality within detailed demographic groups. We reexamine these claims using detailed data from the Current Population Survey and find only limited support. Although the growth of overall inequality in the U.S. slowed in the 1990s, upper tail inequality rose almost as rapidly during the 1990s as during the 1980s. A decomposition applied to the CPS data reveals large and persistent rise in within-group earnings inequality over the past several decades, controlling for changes in labor force composition. While changes in the minimum wage can potentially account for much of the movement in lower tail earnings inequality, strong time series correlations of the evolution of the real minimum wage and upper tail wage inequality raise questions concerning the causal interpretation of such relationships. We also find that changes in the college/high school wage premium appear to be well captured by standard models emphasizing rapid secular growth in the relative demand for skills and fluctuations in the rate of growth of the relative supply of college workers--though these models do not accurately predict the slowdown in the growth of the college/high-school gap during the 1990s. We conclude that these patterns are not adequately explained by either a 'unicausal' skill-biased technical change explanation or a revisionist hypothesis focused primarily on minimum wages and mechanical labor force compositional effects. We speculate that these puzzles can be partially reconciled by a modified version of the skill-biased technical change hypothesis that generates a polarization of skill demands"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site
This job is "getting old:" measuring changes in job opportunities using occupational age structure by David H Autor( )

11 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 82 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

High- and low-wage occupations are expanding rapidly relative to middle-wage occupations in both the U.S. and the E.U. We study the reallocation of workers from middle-skill occupations towards the tails of the occupational skill distribution by analyzing changes in age structure within and across occupations. Because occupations typically expand by hiring young workers and contract by curtailing such hiring, we posit that growing occupations will get younger while shrinking occupations will 'get old.' After verifying this proposition, we apply this observation to local labor markets in the U.S. to test whether markets that were specialized in middle-skilled occupations in 1980 saw a differential movement of both older and younger workers into occupations at the tails of the skill distribution over the subsequent 25 years. Consistent with aggregate trends, employment in initially middle-skill-intensive labor markets hollowed-out between 1980 and 2005. Employment losses among non-college workers in the middle of the occupational skill distribution were almost entirely countered by employment growth in lower-tail occupations. For college workers, employment losses at the middle were offset in roughly equal measures by gains in the upper- and lower-tails of the occupational skill distribution. But gains at the upper-tail were almost entirely limited to young college workers. Consequently, older college workers are increasingly found in lower-skill, lower-paying occupations
The economics of labor market intermediation: an analytic framework by David H Autor( )

11 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 78 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Labor Market Intermediaries (LMIs) are entities or institutions that interpose themselves between workers and firms to facilitate, inform, or regulate how workers are matched to firms, how work is accomplished, and how conflicts are resolved. This paper offers a conceptual foundation for analyzing the market role played by these understudied institutions, and to develop a qualitative and, in some cases, quantitative sense of their significance to market operation and welfare. Though heterogeneous, I argue that LMIs share a common function, which is to redress -- and in some cases exploit -- a set of endemic departures of labor market operation from the efficient neoclassical benchmark. At a rudimentary level, LMIs such as online job boards reduce search frictions by aggregating and reselling disparate information at a cost below which workers and firms could obtain themselves. Beyond passively supplying information, a set of LMIs forcibly redress adverse selection problems in labor markets by compelling workers and firms to reveal normally hidden credentials, such as criminal background, academic standing, or financial integrity. At their most forceful, LMIs such as labor unions and centralized job matching clearinghouses, resolve coordination and collective action failures in markets by tightly controlling -- even monopolizing -- the process by which workers and firms meet, match and negotiate. A unifying observation of the analytic framework is that participation in the activities of a given LMI are typically voluntary for one side of the market and compulsory for the other; workers cannot, for example, elect to suppress their criminal records and firms cannot opt out of collective bargaining. I argue that the nature of participation in an LMI's activities -- voluntary or compulsory, and for which parties -- is dictated by the market imperfection that it addresses and thus tells us much about its economic function
Do employment protections reduce productivity? : evidence from U.S. states by David H Autor( )

14 editions published between 2004 and 2007 in English and held by 77 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Theory predicts that mandated employment protections may reduce productivity by distorting production choices. Firms facing (non-Coasean) worker dismissal costs will curtail hiring below efficient levels and retain unproductive workers, both of which should affect productivity. These theoretical predictions have rarely been tested. We use the adoption of wrongful-discharge protections by U.S. state courts over the last three decades to evaluate the link between dismissal costs and productivity. Drawing on establishment-level data from the Annual Survey of Manufacturers and the Longitudinal Business Database, our estimates suggest that wrongful-discharge protections reduce employment flows and firm entry rates. Moreover, analysis of plant-level data provides evidence of capital deepening and a decline in total factor productivity following the introduction of wrongful-discharge protections. This last result is potentially quite important, suggesting that mandated employment protections reduce productive efficiency as theory would suggest. However, our analysis also presents some puzzles including, most significantly, evidence of strong employment growth following adoption of dismissal protections. In light of these puzzles, we read our findings as suggestive but tentative
The polarization of the U.S. labor market by David H Autor( )

10 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 76 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper analyzes a marked change in the evolution of the U.S. wage structure over the past fifteen years: divergent trends in upper-tail (90/50) and lower-tail (50/10) wage inequality. We document that wage inequality in the top half of distribution has displayed an unchecked and rather smooth secular rise for the last 25 years (since 1980). Wage inequality in the bottom half of the distribution also grew rapidly from 1979 to 1987, but it has ceased growing (and for some measures actually narrowed) since the late 1980s. Furthermore we find that occupational employment growth shifted from monotonically increasing in wages (education) in the 1980s to a pattern of more rapid growth in jobs at the top and bottom relative to the middles of the wage (education) distribution in the 1990s. We characterize these patterns as the "polarization" of the U.S. labor market, with employment polarizing into high-wage and low-wage jobs at the expense of middle-wage work. We show how a model of computerization in which computers most strongly complement the non-routine (abstract) cognitive tasks of high-wage jobs, directly substitute for the routine tasks found in many traditional middle-wage jobs, and may have little direct impact on non-routine manual tasks in relatively low-wage jobs can help explain the observed polarization of the U.S. labor market
When work disappears : manufacturing decline and the falling marriage-market value of men by David H Autor( )

8 editions published in 2017 in English and held by 65 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The structure of marriage and child-rearing in U.S. households has undergone two marked shifts in the last three decades: a steep decline in the prevalence of marriage among young adults, and a sharp rise in the fraction of children born to unmarried mothers or living in single-headed households. A potential contributor to both phenomena is the declining labor-market opportunities faced by males, which make them less valuable as marital partners. We exploit large scale, plausibly exogenous labor-demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the supply of young 'marriageable' males affect marriage, fertility and children's living circumstances. Trade shocks to manufacturing industries have differentially negative impacts on the labor market prospects of men and degrade their marriage-market value along multiple dimensions: diminishing their relative earnings--particularly at the lower segment of the distribution--reducing their physical availability in trade-impacted labor markets, and increasing their participation in risky and damaging behaviors. As predicted by a simple model of marital decision-making under uncertainty, we document that adverse shocks to the supply of `marriageable' men reduce the prevalence of marriage and lower fertility but raise the fraction of children born to young and unwed mothers and living in in poor single-parent households. The falling marriage-market value of young men appears to be a quantitatively important contributor to the rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing and single-headed childrearing in the United States
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Studies of labor market intermediation
Alternative Names
Autor, David

David Autor Amerikaans econoom

David Autor economista statunitense

David Autor économiste américain


English (259)