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Improving the Modeling of Couples' Labour Supply

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Author Info

  • Robert Breunig
  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Xiaodong Gong

Abstract

We study the work hours of Australian couples, using a neoclassical labour-supply model in which couples choose from a small, realistic set of possible wife-husband working hour combinations. We introduce three improvements to this standard model. First, we allow partners' preferences about non-market time to be correlated. We also correct the estimates to accunt for the fact that we estimate the non-observable wage rates of individuals who do not work. Lastly, we allow each individual's preferences for nonmarket time to be correlated with her or his wage rate. These changes, which substantially enhance the realism of the standard, discretized labour-supply model, also have an important impact on the results. We estimate the model using HILDA data and find wage elasticities of labour supply - 0.26 for men and 0.50 for women - that are twice as large as those found without these three innovations. Using simulation methods, we then analyze the expected impact of the 2005/06 Australian tax reform. As a result of the tax cuts, we expect working hours to increase by 1.7 per cent for both men and women and household after-tax incomes to increase by approximately $60 per week on average. For families with two wage earners, each earning between $25,000 and $55,000 per year, our model predicts an after-tax increase in income of $38 after accounting for these labour supply effects - much larger than the Australian Government's own prediction of $12, which does not allow for labour supply effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 499.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:499

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Keywords: Family Labour Supply; Australia; Simulated Maximum Likelihood; Discretized Structural Model;

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References

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  1. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou and Paul A. Ruud., 1993. "Classical Estimation Methods for LDV Models Using Simulation," Economics Working Papers 93-219, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2001. "The Effects of Flattening the Effective Marginal Rate Structure in Australia: Policy Simulations Using the Melbourne Institute Tax and Transfer Simulator," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  3. van Soest, Arthur & Das, Marcel & Gong, Xiaodong, 2002. "A structural labour supply model with flexible preferences," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1-2), pages 345-374, March.
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  27. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2003. "Flattening the Effective Marginal Tax Rate Structure in Australia: Policy Simulations Using the Melbourne Institute Tax and Transfer Simulator," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 156-172.
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Cited by:
  1. Giuseppe De Luca & Claudio Rossetti & Daniela Vuri, 2012. "In-Work Benefits for Married Couples: An Ex-Ante Evaluation of EITC and WTC Policies in Italy," CEIS Research Paper 244, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Jul 2012.
  2. Robert Breunig & Joseph Mercante, 2010. "The Accuracy of Predicted Wages of the Non-Employed and Implications for Policy Simulations from Structural Labour Supply Models," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 49-70, 03.
  3. Gong, Xiaodong & Breunig, Robert, 2012. "Child Care Assistance: Are Subsidies or Tax Credits Better?," IZA Discussion Papers 6606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Robert Breunig & Xiaodong Gong & Anthony King, 2012. "Partnered Women's Labour Supply and Child‐Care Costs in Australia: Measurement Error and the Child‐Care Price," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 51-69, 06.
  5. Pacifico, Daniele, 2009. "A behavioral microsimulation model with discrete labour supply for Italian couples," MPRA Paper 14198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breuing, 2011. "Estimating Net Child Care Price Elasticities of Partnered Women With Pre-School Children Using a Discrete Structural Labour Supply-Child Care Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 653, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breunig, 2012. "Estimating net chid care price elasticities of partnered women with pre-school children using a discrete structural labour supply-child care model," Treasury Working Papers 2012-01, Treasury, Australian Government, revised Nov 2012.
  8. Jeremy Lawson & Crystal Ossolinski, 2010. "Employment Composition: A Study of Australian Employment Growth, 2002–2006," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2010-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.

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