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Aggregate labor supply

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  • Edward C. Prescott
  • Johanna Wallenius

Abstract

Macroeconomics has made tremendous advances following the introduction of labor supply into the field. Today, it is widely acknowledged that labor supply matters for many key economic issues, particularly for business cycles and tax policy analysis. However, the extent to which labor supply matters for such questions depends on the aggregate labor supply elasticity—that is, the sensitivity of the time allocation between market and nonmarket activities. For several decades, the magnitude of the aggregate labor supply elasticity has been the subject of much debate. In this article, we review the debate and conclude that the elasticity of labor supply of the aggregate household is much higher than the elasticity of the identical households being aggregated. The aggregate household utility function differs from the individuals’ utility functions for the same reason that the aggregate production function differs from the individual firms’ production functions being aggregated. The differences in individual and aggregate supply elasticities are what aggregation theory predicts.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): Oct ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2012:i:oct:n:v.35no.2

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Keywords: Labor supply;

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References

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  1. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
  2. Johanna Wallenius, 2011. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution of Labor: How Large is the Bias?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 577-591, October.
  3. Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Micro and Macro Elasticities in a Life Cycle Model With Taxes," NBER Working Papers 13017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2006. "From Individual To Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based On A Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 1-27, 02.
  5. Edward C. Prescott & Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Lifetime aggregate labor supply with endogenous workweek length," Staff Report 400, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  8. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  9. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  10. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  12. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-Term Changes in Labor Supply and Taxes: Evidence from OECD Countries, 1956-2004," NBER Working Papers 12786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2012. "Taxation and Household Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1113-1149.
  14. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2009. "Labor Supply Elasticity and Social Security Reform," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-5, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2009.
  15. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  16. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2007. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873161.
  17. Heckman, James J & Macurdy, Thomas E, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74, January.
  18. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  19. Casey B. Mulligan, . "The Intertemporal Substitution of Work--What Does the Evidence Say?," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 95-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  20. Johanna Wallenius & Richard Rogerson, 2011. "Fixed Costs, Retirement and the Elasticity of Labor Supply," 2011 Meeting Papers 250, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Joseph Altonji, 1984. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Working Papers 562, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  22. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 2008. "Taxes, benefits, and careers: Complete versus incomplete markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 98-125, January.
  2. Yongseok Shin & Ananth Seshadri & Rody Manuelli, 2012. "Lifetime Labor Supply and Human Capital Investment," 2012 Meeting Papers 946, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Rocheteau, Guillaume & Rupert, Peter & Wright, Randall, 2007. "Inflation and Unemployment in General Equilibrium," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2fq1855f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Jorge Alonso-Ortiz, 2010. "Social Security and Retirement across the OECD," Working Papers 1007, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  5. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Dayanand S. Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2011. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference Between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Working Papers 16729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael P. Keane & Richard Rogerson, 2012. "Reconciling Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: A Structural Perspective," Economics Papers 2012-W12, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  7. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2011. "Optimal Redistribution with Intensive and Extensive Labor Supply Margins: A Life-Cycle Perspective," Working Papers hal-00639121, HAL.
  8. Johanna Wallenius & Richard Rogerson, 2011. "Fixed Costs, Retirement and the Elasticity of Labor Supply," 2011 Meeting Papers 250, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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