Prof. David Dorn

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets

Discover Prof. David Dorn on

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Interests

Labor Economics, International Trade, Technological Change and Innovation, Macroeconomics, Political Economy

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets

Prof. David Dorn

Discover Prof. David Dorn on

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Interests

Labor Economics, International Trade, Technological Change and Innovation, Macroeconomics, Political Economy

Selected publications

  • The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms with David Autor, Lawrence F Katz, Christina Patterson and John van Reenen, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 135(2): 645-709, 2020 download

  • When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage Market Value of Young Men with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, American Economic Review: Insights, 2(1): 161-178, 2019 download

  • Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share with David Autor, Lawrence Katz, Christina Patterson and John Van Reenen, American Economic Review, P&P, 107(5): 180-185, 2017 download

  • The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade. with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, Annual Review of Economics, 8: 205-240, 2016 download

  • Trade Adjustment: Worker Level Evidence with David Autor, Gordon Hanson and Jae Song, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(4): 1799-1860, 2014 download

  • The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the U.S. with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, American Economic Review, 103(6): 2121-2168, 2013 download

  • The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market with David Autor, American Economic Review 103(5): 1553-1597, 2013 download

Research

David Dorn’s research studies the impact of globalization and technological change on labor market and society. His recent work shows that the rapid rise of goods imports from China to the US since the 1990s has had lasting adverse effects on both the careers of workers who were employed in import-competing industries, and on the economic development of cities where such industries were concentrated. These findings challenged and changed the conventional wisdom that trade has few discernible labor market effects. In related work, Dorn showed that the sharp contraction of manufacturing employment in import-exposed local labor markets is associated with broader patterns of social decline, including decreasing marriage rates and rising death tolls due to drug abuse. These same locations also experienced shifts in their electoral outcomes, as voters have become more likely to elect politicians whose policy positions place them on the far left, or more often on the far right of the spectrum of political ideology. The declining support for moderate politicians contributes to a polarization of US congress that makes it increasingly difficult to find bi-partisan solutions for dealing with the country’s economic and social problems.

Dorn’s ongoing research emphasizes that there is not only rising wage inequality among workers, but also a changing distribution of aggregate income between capital and labor. The labor share in national income is decreasing in many countries, which has a dramatic effect on income inequality: Since capital income is extremely concentrated at the top of the income distribution, a shift of aggregate income away from labor and towards capital will raise relative incomes at the very top, and reduce relative incomes for the majority of the population. Dorn’s work shows that the decline in labor’s income share is associated with a rapidly growing importance of large ‘superstar firms’. An analysis of nearly the full population of US firms indicates that larger firms charge higher mark-ups and are more profitable, which in turn implies that lower labor income share in these firms. During the last three decades, many output markets in the US and Europe have become more concentrated and dominated by large firms, and this increasing importance of ‘superstar firms’ shifts the distribution of aggregate income towards capital. This is a concern both due to growing monopolistic power in output markets, and rising income inequality in society.

David Dorn’s research studies the impact of globalization and technological change on labor market and society. His recent work shows that the rapid rise of goods imports from China to the US since the 1990s has had lasting adverse effects on both the careers of workers who were employed in import-competing industries, and on the economic development of cities where such industries were concentrated. These findings challenged and changed the conventional wisdom that trade has few discernible labor market effects. In related work, Dorn showed that the sharp contraction of manufacturing employment in import-exposed local labor markets is associated with broader patterns of social decline, including decreasing marriage rates and rising death tolls due to drug abuse. These same locations also experienced shifts in their electoral outcomes, as voters have become more likely to elect politicians whose policy positions place them on the far left, or more often on the far right of the spectrum of political ideology. The declining support for moderate politicians contributes to a polarization of US congress that makes it increasingly difficult to find bi-partisan solutions for dealing with the country’s economic and social problems.

Dorn’s ongoing research emphasizes that there is not only rising wage inequality among workers, but also a changing distribution of aggregate income between capital and labor. The labor share in national income is decreasing in many countries, which has a dramatic effect on income inequality: Since capital income is extremely concentrated at the top of the income distribution, a shift of aggregate income away from labor and towards capital will raise relative incomes at the very top, and reduce relative incomes for the majority of the population. Dorn’s work shows that the decline in labor’s income share is associated with a rapidly growing importance of large ‘superstar firms’. An analysis of nearly the full population of US firms indicates that larger firms charge higher mark-ups and are more profitable, which in turn implies that lower labor income share in these firms. During the last three decades, many output markets in the US and Europe have become more concentrated and dominated by large firms, and this increasing importance of ‘superstar firms’ shifts the distribution of aggregate income towards capital. This is a concern both due to growing monopolistic power in output markets, and rising income inequality in society.

David Dorn on Google Scholarbrowse

Videos

In the media

  • What more should antitrust be doing? The Economicst 8.8.2020 read

  • «Ein Arbeitsloser im amerikanischen Rostgürtel lässt sich nicht davon überzeugen, dass die Globalisierung gut ist, nur weil dadurch viele Chinesen an Einkommen gewonnen haben» NZZ Interview mit David Dorn vom 2.7.2020 lesen

  • Die unheimliche Dominanz der Superstar-Firmen NZZ am Sonntag vom 27.6.2020 lesen

  • «Die USA haben mehr Jobs verloren als geschützt» SRF ECO Interview mit David Dorn vom 8.6.2020 schauen

  • Schuldenberg wegen Coronakrise SRF Interview mit David Dorn vom 29.5.2020 hören

  • Neue Ideen zum Umgang der Schweiz mit den Corona-Schulden NZZ vom 26.5.2020 lesen

  • Wie der Bund die Schulden wieder in den Griff kriegt Tagesanzeiger vom 23.5.2020 lesen

  • Ökonomieprofessor warnt: «Es ist problematisch zu sagen, die Restaurantbesitzer haben halt Pech gehabt» Luzernerzeitung Interview mit David Dorn vom 2.5.2020 lesen

  • Eingebettete Experten Weltwoche vom 29.4.2020 lesen

  • Wird aus der Marktwirtschaft nun eine Staatswirtschaft? SRF ECO Interview mit David Dorn vom 10.4.2020 lesen

  • Corona – A-fonds-perdu-Beiträge, nicht nur Kredite SRF ECO Interview mit David Dorn vom 6.4.2020 schauen

  • Wie die Volkswirtschaft überlebt Finanz und Wirtschaft Meinung von David Dorn vom 6.4.2020 lesen

  • Coronavirus: Schawinski Interview Radio 1 vom 27.03.2020 hören

  • Was die Ökonomen empfehlen Tagesanzeiger vom 26.03.2020 lesen

  • *Why are workers getting smaller pieces of the pie? MIT News 10.03.2020 read

  • David Dorn über die Wurzeln des Populismus SRF vom 12.11.2019 | Tagesgespräch hören

  • Schweiz muss wettbewerbsfähig sein Finanz und Wirtschaft 9.9.2019 (in German) read

  • Wirtschaft und Politik: Sie wollen das eine – und tun es dann doch nicht NZZ 6.9.2019 (in German) read

  • Why did the China shock hurt so much? The Economist 7.3.2019 read

  • Economics is not a zero-sum game Radio 1 podcast March 2019 (in German) listen

  • The downside of free trade SRF Info3 interview January 2019 (in German) listen

  • I rely on empirical data Bilanz January 2019 (in German) read

  • One year of trade war and no end Finanz und Wirtschaft December 2018 (in German) read

Quote

Ein Arbeitsloser im amerikanischen Rostgürtel lässt sich nicht davon überzeugen, dass die Globalisierung gut ist, nur weil dadurch viele Chinesen an Einkommen gewonnen haben.
NZZ, 2.7.2020
Die Afro-Amerikanischen Bürger sind von der Wirtschaftskrise aber auch von der medizinischen Krise besonders stark betroffen.
SRF «ECO», 8.6.2020
Es ist Unklug in Krisenzeiten zu sparen. Das schadet der Konjunktur.
SRF «Rendez-vous», 29.5.2020
Die Konkurswelle könnte weit über eine produktive, schöpferische Zerstörung hinausgehen. Diese Gefahr besteht. Es würden wirtschaftliche Strukturen zerstört, die eigentlich erhaltenswert sind.
Luzernerzeitung, 2.5.2020
Es geht natürlich darum hier Anreize zu haben, dass die Unternehmen versuchen, auch in der schwierigen Lage in der sie sind, möglichst gut zu Geschäften, möglichst Kosten zu vermeiden.
SRF ECO, 6.4.2020
Die aktuelle Krise unterscheidet sich jedoch deutlich von früheren Rezessionen. Betroffen sind nicht nur die schwächsten Branchen und Firmen, sondern auch viele Wirtschaftszweige und Unternehmen mit solidem Geschäftsmodellen und intakten Zukunftsperspektiven.
Rising trade does not necessarily lead to a balanced labor market impact where decreases in labor demand in some industries are offset by increases in labor demand in other industries.

Interviews and features

2014

Images

Contact

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Office hours:

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Address

University of Zurich

Department of Economics, Schönberggasse 1, 8001 Zürich
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