Projekte Prof. Dr. Julia Püschel

Digitalization and its Impact on Labor Markets

This project explores and documents the extent to which digitalization transforms our labor markets. Over the last 30 years, computers have substituted for a number of jobs, next to manufacturing jobs including many service jobs, such as bookkeepers and telephone operators. Since Autor et al.’s seminal work in 2003, the impact of computerization on labor market outcomes has been conceptualized in terms of a distinction between routine and non-routine tasks. The main idea is that jobs consisting of tasks following well-defined procedures can easily be codified in algorithms and be performed by computers (Autor, et al., 2003; Autor and Dorn, 2013). With the recent explosion of digital data the scope of what computers can do has expanded once again and will continue to do so. One result being that computerization is no longer confined to routine jobs (Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2011). Anecdotal evidence on the increasing range of non-routine occupations that are prone to computerization abound. These examples show that the existing analytical frameworks are no longer adequate in explaining the impact of technology on labor markets. However, the various statements differ considerably in terms of the range of occupations that are affected and no statistical evidence exists to establish a clear picture about the compositional effects.

This project’s purpose is to provide such systematic evidence on how technological progress has impacted labor markets in Germany and the United States in the twenty-first century. Which kind of occupations have been the most susceptible to computerization over the last decade? Which reallocations have taken place in the types of skills that workers need due to ever increasing computer capacities and big data? Do we still experience a ‚hollowing out’ of routine middle-wage jobs as in the last decades of the 20th century, or something else?

Publications and Forthcoming Articles

Püschel, J. (2015). Arbeitsmarktpolitik und Außenhandel in den USA. In C. Lammert, M. Siewert and B. Vormann (Eds.). Handbuch Politik in den USA. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Püschel, J. (2014). Measuring Task Content and Offshorability. Applied Economics Letters 22(5).

Püschel, J. (2013). Wage Effects of U.S. Service Offshoring by Skills and Tasks. FIW Working Paper No. 107, Research Center International Economics, Austria.

Püschel, J. (2012). Task Dependence of U.S. Service Offshoring Patterns. Discussion Paper Economics, School of Business and Economics, Free University, Berlin, Germany (2012/15). 

Püschel, J., & Vormann, B. (2012). Grey Zones of the Market – Public Services, Education Policies and Neoliberal Reform in the United Kingdom. In M.-C. Lall (Ed.), Policy, Discourse and Rhetoric. How New Labour Challenged Social Justice and Democracy (15-40). Amsterdam: Sense Publishers.