From The Changing Nature of Work by Italo Lopez-Garcia (RAND Corporation), Nicole Maestas (Harvard Medical School and NBER), and Kathleen Mullen (RAND Corporation)
This study found that The increase in cognitive job demands… is mostly concentrated among low-skill jobs, or those prevalent among individuals with less than a college degree. In contrast, the decrease in physical job demands is concentrated among high-skill jobs, or those prevalent among individuals with at least a college degree. These results suggest low-education workers have been penalized as their jobs have become more cognitively demanding without any alleviation of the physical burden of performing these jobs.
Many times a Social Security Administrative Law Judge will find a person capable of doing a low skill job and thus deny them benefits. This study shows that over time what is assumed to be a low skill job actually requires more mental ability than it has in the past and those persons with problems affecting their ability to maintain attention, concentration and to accurately remember are not going to be able to do these jobs. This makes common sense because we know that technology continues to be important in all jobs and technology requires a higher level of mental functioning even in what are perceived to be low skill jobs.
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