In this course, we will explore how information technology is reshaping different dimensions of the U.S. labor market: the way work is organized, the mix of occupations, the skills required to perform in an occupation, economy-wide labor productivity, and the distribution of wages.
Much of our analysis begins from the following ideas:
All human work - designing a circuit, tasting a sauce, hammering a nail - involves processing information.
Computers are much better at some kinds of information processing than others.
Once we understand the kinds of information processing computers can and cannot do well, we can identify those areas of work where computers can substitute for human labor (eliminating jobs) and those areas of work where computers complement human labor (creating new jobs in many cases). We can also identify the human skills that remain valuable in the computerized workplace.
|Periodic Problem Sets
|Paper (20 pages)
Grading will be based on periodic problem sets, a mid-term, a final exam and a 20-page paper. Each paper will be written by a pair of students and will describe how a computer might eliminate or enhance (substitute or complement) a job that is currently performed by humans.