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Aggregate labor supply

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  • Johanna Wallenius
  • Edward C. Prescott

Abstract

There have been tremendous advances in macroeconomics, 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 non-market activities to changes in the effective wage. The magnitude of the aggregate labor supply elasticity has been the subject of much debate for several decades. In this paper we review this 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 individuals’ utility functions for the same reason the aggregate production function differs from 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

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 457.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:457

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  1. Edward C. Prescott & Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Lifetime aggregate labor supply with endogenous workweek length," Staff Report 400, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "Labor supply elasticity and social security reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 867-878, August.
  3. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From Individual to Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based on a Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy," Macroeconomics 0307003, EconWPA.
  4. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Joseph Altonji, 1984. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Working Papers 562, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  11. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  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. Johanna Wallenius & Richard Rogerson, 2011. "Fixed Costs, Retirement and the Elasticity of Labor Supply," 2011 Meeting Papers 250, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2007. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873161, April.
  18. Cho, J-O. & Cooley, T.F., 1988. "Employment And Hours Over The Business Cycle," Papers 88-03, Rochester, Business - General.
  19. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri & Yongseok Shin, 2012. "Lifetime labor supply and human capital investment," Working Papers 2012-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2007. "Taxes, Benefits, and Careers: Complete Versus Incomplete Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6560, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Michael Keane & Richard Rogers, 2012. "Reconciling Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: A Structural Perspective," Economics Series Working Papers 2012-W12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2012. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2012, Volume 27, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Johanna Wallenius & Richard Rogerson, 2011. "Fixed Costs, Retirement and the Elasticity of Labor Supply," 2011 Meeting Papers 250, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Jorge Alonso-Ortiz, 2010. "Social Security and Retirement across the OECD," Working Papers 1007, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  8. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2011. "Optimal Redistribution with Intensive and Extensive Labor Supply Margins: A Life-Cycle Perspective," Working Papers hal-00639121, HAL.

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