Economics Department


Date of this Version



Journal of Monetary Economics, Volume 97, August 2018, Pages 48-67


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. JEL Codes: E24, J20, O33