How Computers are Transforming American Jobs

Frank Levy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Richard J. Murnane, Harvard University

As Levy and Murnane explain, we must educate people to do what computers can't.

In their brief on computers, work, and America's educational challenges, Levy and Murnane sum up the key findings of an important new report, Dancing with Robots, prepared under the auspices of the policy advocacy group Third Way.

Given its timely analysis of central challenges for U.S. economic and educational policymaking, the Levy-Murnane report has gotten high-profile media attention in the Washington Post and Reuters – and the debates and research are sure to be ongoing.

Frank Levy is a leading expert on trends in the U.S. labor market. He has written about the decline of the post-World War II social contract that helped to build opportunity and security for a broad American middle class. In addition, Levy is currently working on the economics of medical care and technologies and on how best to measure the returns individuals and society get from college education.

Richard Murnane has recently served as the Acting Dean of the School of Education at Harvard University. He is a renowned expert on the effectiveness and social underpinnings of education and schooling in the United States. He has another SSN brief summing up recent research on trends in high school graduation in the United States. Murnane's civic involvements range from work with the Boston Public Schools to service on expert committees at the National Research Council and the Department of Education.


In the spirit of Levy and Murnane's call for improved education, SSN members Luisa S. Deprez and John Dorrer recently published on OpEd in the Bangor Daily News on the "Signals from the Labor Market" that educators ought to heed – in order to prepare workers for the future who can deal creatively with complexity and social diversity in real-world settings.


September 2013