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The Marginal Worker and The Aggregate Elasticity of Labor Supply

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Author Info

  • François Gourio

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Pierre-Alexandre Noual

    ()
    (University of Chicago.)

Abstract

This paper attempts to reconcile the high apparent aggregate elasticity of labor supply with small micro estimates. We elaborate on Rogerson’s seminal work (1988) and show that his results rely neither on complete markets nor on lotteries, but rather on the indivisibility of labor supply and the marginal homogeneity of the workforce. We derive two robust implications of a setup with indivisible labor but without lotteries, using either a complete markets model or an incomplete markets model. Implication (1) is that agents with reservation wages far above or below the market wage are less responsive (in labor supply) to the business cycle than agents whose reservation wage is around the market wage. Implication (2) is that the aggregate elasticity is given by the marginal homogeneity of the workforce. We test implication (1) using the PSID and find support for it. We build an incomplete market model and calibrate it to cross-sectional moments of hours worked. We show that it can reproduce the feature (1). This allows us to use the model to evaluate the importance of feature (2), i.e. to estimate the aggregate elasticity of labor supply implied by the marginal homogeneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2006-009.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2006-009

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Keywords: indivisible labor; reservation wage distribution; labor supply; business cycles.;

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References

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  1. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  2. Mulligan Casey B, 2001. "Aggregate Implications of Indivisible Labor," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-35, April.
  3. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  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. Heckman, James J, 1993. "What Has Been Learned about Labor Supply in the Past Twenty Years?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 116-21, May.
  6. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  7. David K. Levine & William R. Zame, 2002. "Does Market Incompleteness Matter?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1805-1839, September.
  8. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Leigh Andrew, 2010. "Who Benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit? Incidence among Recipients, Coworkers and Firms," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-43, May.
  2. Juan David Prada Sarmiento & Luis Eduardo Rojas Dueñas, 2009. "La elasticidad de Frisch y la transmisión de la política monetaria en Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 005404, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  3. Wouter Denhaan, 2007. "Shocks and the Unavoidable Road to Higher Taxes and Higher Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 348-366, July.
  4. Raffo, Andrea, 2008. "Net exports, consumption volatility and international business cycle models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 14-29, May.
  5. Yuting Bai & Tatiana Kirsanova, 2013. "Infrequent Fiscal Stabilization," Working Papers 2013_01, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  6. Fogli, Alessandra & Veldkamp, Laura, 2007. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labour Force Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6324, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Riccardo Fiorito & Giulio Zanella, 2012. "The Anatomy of the Aggregate Labor Supply Elasticity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 171-187, April.

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