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Project Proposal

So Many Jobs In So Few Places

Dustin Frye (Economics)

Project Description

Over the last 70 years, nearly 80 percent of job growth occurred in just 10 percent of counties. This increased spatial concentration of employment has large consequences for wages and welfare. Over this period, industries relocated and the U.S. economy transitioned from the majority of workers working in manufacturing to working in services. This project will explore this transitionary period in the U.S. economy, which shaped cities and regions. Specifically, the project will focus on the development of a dataset with wage and employment information by industry, and empirical analysis into the larger trends in industrial growth across locations over the second half of the twentieth century.

Anticipated Project Activities

Part of the data for this project is currently available in pdf form, which needs to be converted into a usable dataset. The first project task is to OCR scan these documents and export them to Excel. This process isn’t perfect and in order to catch mistakes, we will develop code that identifies potentially problematic values from the OCR scan. Once we have scanned and corrected the exported data, we will focus on combining the wage and employment information into a master dataset and performing some preliminary analysis.

Preferred Student Qualifications and Skills

Experience working with Excel and either STATA or R is required. The ideal candidate will have experience cleaning and constructing datasets.

Anticipated Follow-up Teaching/Professional Activity for Student

Depending on the progress, the student may be asked to stay on as a research assistant in the future. Additionally, the student may be asked to help co-teach one or two lectures that focus on trends in regional development over the 20th century in Econ 318, Urban Economics, in the fall of 2021.

Project Location

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY—In-Person, but the project can easily be adjusted to hybrid or remote if necessary.

Project Duration

Eight weeks

Project Start Date

June 7, 2021

Project End Date

July 31, 2021