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Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results

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  • Olivier Bargain
  • Kristian Orsini
  • Andreas Peichl

Abstract

We suggest the first large-scale international comparison of labor supply elasticities for 17 European countries and the US, separately by gender and marital status. Measurement differences are netted out by using a harmonized empirical approach and comparable data sources. We find that own-wage elasticities are relatively smalland much more uniform across countries than previously thought. Differences exist nonetheless and are found not to arise from different tax-benefit systems or demographic compositions across countries. Thus, we cannot reject that countries have genuinely different preferences. Three other results, important for welfare analysis, are consistent over all countries: the extensive (participation) margin dominates the intensive (hours) margin; for singles, this leads to larger labor supply responses in low-income groups; income elasticities are extremely small everywhere. Finally, the results for cross-wage elasticities in couples are opposed between regions, consistent with complementarity in spouses' leisure in the US versus substitution in spouses' household production in Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 525.

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Length: 48 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp525

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Keywords: household labor supply; elasticity; taxation; Europe; US;

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Cited by:
  1. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2012. "Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Tax Evasion Opportunities and Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 6914, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alessio J. G. Brown & Christian Merkl & Dennis Snower, 2014. "The Minimum Wage from a Two-Sided Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 4868, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Zuzana Siebertova & Matus Senaj & Norbert Svarda & Jana Valachyova, 2013. "To Work or Not to Work? Estimates of Labour Supply Elasticities," Working and Discussion Papers WP 5/2013, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
  4. Jan Kabatek & Arthur Van Soest & Elena Stancanelli, 2014. "Income taxation, labour supply and housework: a discrete choice model for French couples," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00966801, HAL.
  5. Nico Pestel & Eric Sommer, 2013. "Shifting Taxes from Labor to Consumption: Efficient, but Regressive?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 624, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  6. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2013. "Comparing Inequality Aversion across Countries When Labor Supply Responses Differ," IZA Discussion Papers 7215, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Löffler, Max & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2013. "Validating Structural Labor Supply Models," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79819, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Jeanne, O., 2012. "Fiscal challenges to monetary dominance in the euro area: a theoretical perspective," Financial Stability Review, Banque de France, issue 16, pages 143-150, April.

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