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Local price variation and labor supply behavior

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  • Dan Black
  • Natalia Kolesnikova
  • Lowell J. Taylor

Abstract

In standard economic theory, labor supply decisions depend on the complete set of prices: the wage and the prices of relevant consumption goods. Nonetheless, most of theoretical and empirical work ignores prices other than wages when studying labor supply. The question we address in this paper is whether the common practice of ignoring local price variation in labor supply studies is as innocuous as has generally been assumed. We describe a simple model to demonstrate that the effects of wage and non-labor income on labor supply will typically differ by location. We show, in particular, the derivative of the labor supply with respect to non-labor income will be independent of price only when labor supply takes a form based on an implausible separability condition. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the effect of price on labor supply is not a simple "up-or down shift" that would be required to meet the separability condition in our key proposition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2008-016.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-016

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Keywords: Labor supply ; Price levels;

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References

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  1. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
  2. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. repec:fth:prinin:121 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  5. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  6. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  7. Abbott, Michael & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1976. "Labour Supply, Commodity Demand and the Allocation of Time," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 389-411, October.
  8. Haurin, Donald R, 1980. "The Regional Distribution of Population, Migration, and Climate," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 293-308, September.
  9. Orley Ashenfelter & John C. Ham, 1979. "Education, Unemployment and Earnings," Working Papers 501, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Winters, John V, 2010. "Human Capital Externalities and Employment Differences across Metropolitan Areas of the U.S," MPRA Paper 22434, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Taylor, Lowell J., 2014. "Why do so few women work in New York (and so many in Minneapolis)? Labor supply of married women across US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-71.

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