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Did the computer revolution shift the fortunes of US cities? Technology shocks and the geography of new jobs

This paper shows how the Computer Revolution of the 1980s shifted the economic trajectories of U.S. cities. Examining the emergence of new occupational titles in official census classifications, we document a sharp reversal in the skill content of new jobs. While technological change was biased towards routine skills throughout the 1970s, new job titles mainly appeared in occupations and industries that required abstract skills after 1980. This reversal is also reflected in the geography of new jobs. Following the Computer Revolution, the creation of new jobs shifted towards cities with endowments of analytical and interactive skills. Our results suggest that the recent divergence of U.S. cities can in part be explained by the complementarities between new technologies and skill endowments.