Science and Engineering Workforce Project
2021 Oct 01

Seminar in the Economics of Science & Engineering - "Occupational Projections, Automation, and the Future of Work"

10:30am to 12:00pm



SPEAKER: Mike Handel (Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDOL, Research Analyst)
TITLE:  "Occupational Projections, Automation, and the Future of Work"

If you missed the seminar, or want to review Mike Handel's excellent presentation, here's a link to the Zoom Video Recording
Content questions can be addressed to <>

ABSTRACT: The impressive growth in the power of artificial intelligence since 2005 has spawned a raft of papers and analyses that seek to identify occupations threatened by automation in the near future.  The most widely cited estimate is that nearly half of all U.S. jobs are at risk of automation over a ten- to twenty-year period.... Read more about Seminar in the Economics of Science & Engineering - "Occupational Projections, Automation, and the Future of Work"

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How Science Works in the U.S.

June 5, 2019

by Linda Wang
Share America

For science to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges in improving human health, protecting the environment and ensuring national security, scientific research should be transparent and collaborative.

In the U.S., the openness in which scientists conduct their work mirrors the openness of the American society. This transparent environment attracts top talent from around the world.

Furthermore, the talent of diverse scientists working in the U.S. fosters meaningful collaboration.

“It’s a great thing when people from overseas want to come and work with Americans because they feel we have an extremely positive scientific culture,” said Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University who has studied the impact of collaboration on research. “You have people from so many different backgrounds and from so many countries — I think that has contributed to the strength of American science.”... Read more about How Science Works in the U.S.

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The world has underestimated China’s rise as a scientific power

August 31, 2018

By Akshat Rathi

The study, published by Qingnan Xie of Nanjing University and Richard Freeman of NBER, argues that the world has been underestimating China’s contribution to science. So far, the way country-level contributions are measured is based on how many scientific papers have authors with an address in a particular country. But the new study argues that using addresses does not account for cases in which, for instance, Chinese researchers author a paper while working at a US university.

Correcting for those sorts of mistakes, the authors find that Chinese researchers now publish more scientific papers than others. Roughly one in four scientific papers published has an author with a Chinese name or address. If Chinese-language papers are included, then the figure jumps up to 37%. By comparison, China contributes around 15% to global GDP.

2018 Apr 06

Diversity and Collaboration in Economics

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School
SPEAKER: Sultan Orazbayev (Visiting Fellow, Growth lab at the Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School) 
2018 Apr 27

Moonshot thinking: X's approach to radical innovation"

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School
SPEAKER: ​ Helen Riley,Moonshot Mission Controller at X (formerly Google [x])
In 2010, Google founded a secret research lab called Google [X] to develop big, futuristic ideas it called moonshots. After five years, this research lab broke off into its own company called “X, the moonshot factory”. Today, X sets out to foster uncomfortably ambitious ideas that address some of the world’s biggest problems. It's currently home to some of Alphabet's far-out projects like Internet-beaming balloons and delivery drones. It's also where a range of Alphabet business and products were founded including Waymo, Google Brain and Verily Life Sciences.  In this session, X's Moonshot Mission Controller(aka CFO), Helen Riley will provide an overview of X’s radical approach to innovation and share how others can apply "moonshot thinking" principles too.
U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report
5/4/2018. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report, Pp. 320. University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the late 1950s, the engineering job market in the United States has been fraught with fears of a shortage of engineering skill and talent. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy brings clarity to issues of supply and demand in this important market. Following a general overview of engineering-labor market trends, the volume examines the educational pathways of undergraduate engineers and their entry into the labor market, the impact of engineers working in firms on productivity and innovation, and different dimensions of the changing engineering labor market, from licensing to changes in demand and guest worker programs.

The volume provides insights on engineering education, practice, and careers that can inform educational institutions, funding agencies, and policy makers about the challenges facing the United States in developing its engineering workforce in the global economy.
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All Demand is Local: Why Donors Remain Bullish on STEM Education

March 8, 2018

By Mike Scutari
Inside Philanthropy

Michael Teitelbaum's book, titled Falling Behind? Boom, Bust and the Global Race for Scientific Talent  argues that corporate and political leaders have been sounding the alarm about a STEM shortage ever since the end of World War II. And every time they do, enrollments surge, generating too many graduates and not enough jobs.

Yet there is a surging demand in computer occupations, especially in certain parts of the country. And those donors who are helping universities meet that demand are definitely on the right track.

Ultimately, donors' unrelenting focus on STEM education is a reminder of how often philanthropy is driven by local factors or the challenges of specific institutions. While there may be a glut of STEM graduates at the broadly defined macro-level, the employers and university administrators attuned to nuances of their respective ecosystems have concluded there’s a shortage.

2018 Apr 13

The Value of an Overseas Research Trip

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School
SPEAKER: Gokhan Aykac (RA, Gazi University Dept of Economics, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School) 
TITLE: "The Value of an Overseas Research Trip"
2018 Mar 02

Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School

SPEAKER:  William F. Maloney (World Bank, Chief Economist, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions) 
TITLE: “Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the AmericasPreview the document" (paper joint with Felipe Valencia Caicedo) 
This paper offers the first systematic historical evidence on the role of a central actor in modern growth theory - the engineer. We collect cross-country and state level data on the population share of engineers for the Americas, and county level data on engineering and patenting for the US during the Second Industrial Revolution. These are robustly correlated with income today after controlling for literacy, other types of higher order human capital (e.g. lawyers, physicians), demand side factors, and instrumenting engineering using the Land Grant Colleges program. We support these results with historical case studies from the US and Latin America.

2018 Feb 09

AI and Jobs: The Role of Demand

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103 (Bloomberg Center, HBS)
SPEAKER: James Bessen (Technology & Policy Research Initiative, Boston University School of Law) 
TITLE:  "AI and Jobs: The Role of DemandPreview the document"
Abstract: In manufacturing, technology has sharply reduced jobs in recent decades. But before that, for over a century, employment grew, even in industries experiencing rapid technological change. What changed? Demand was highly elastic at first and then became inelastic. The effect of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs will similarly depend critically on the nature of demand. This paper presents a simple model of demand that accurately predicts the rise and fall of employment in the textile, steel, and automotive industries. This model provides a useful framework for exploring how AI is likely to affect jobs over the next 10 or 20 years. ... Read more about AI and Jobs: The Role of Demand
2018 Feb 23

“From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners"

12:00pm to 1:30pm


Baker 103, Bloomberg Center, HBS Campus

Haris Tabakovic (Harvard Business School and The Brattle Group) 
Paper: “From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners" (paper joint with Thomas Wollmann, University of Chicago)

ABSTRACT:  Many regulatory agency employees are hired by the firms they regulate, creating a “revolving door” between government and the private sector. We study these transitions using detailed data from the US Patent and Trademark Office. We find that patent examiners grant significantly more patents to the firms that later hire them, that much of this leniency extends to prospective employers, and that these effects are strongest in years when firms are actively hiring. Ultimately, this leads the agency to issue lower quality patents, which we measure in citations. We argue these results are suggestive of regulatory capture.