Task specialization in US cities from 1880-2000

Type Working Paper
Title Task specialization in US cities from 1880-2000
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/48925/1/dp1186.pdf
We develop a new methodology for quantifying the tasks undertaken within occupations
using 3,000 verbs from around 12,000 occupational descriptions in the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (DOTs). Using micro-data from the United States from 1880-2000, we
find an increase in the employment share of interactive occupations within sectors over time
that is larger in metro areas than non-metro areas. We provide evidence that this increase in
the interactiveness of employment is related to the dissemination of improvements in
transport and communication technologies. Our findings highlight a change in the nature of
agglomeration over time towards an increased emphasis on human interaction.

Related studies