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Are Shirking and Leisure Substitutable? An Empirical Test of Efficiency Wages Based on Urban Economic Theory

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  • Ross, Stephen L.

    ()
    (University of Connecticut)

  • Zenou, Yves

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

Recent theoretical work has examined the spatial distribution of unemployment using the efficiency wage model as the mechanism by which unemployment arises in the urban economy. This paper extends the standard efficiency wage model in order to allow for behavioral substitution between leisure time at home and effort at work. In equilibrium, residing at a location with a long commute affects the time available for leisure at home and therefore affects the trade-off between effort at work and risk of unemployment. This model implies an empirical relationship between expected commutes and labor market outcomes, which is tested using the Public Use Microdata sample of the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census. The empirical results suggest that efficiency wages operate primarily for blue collar workers, i.e. workers who tend to be in occupations that face higher levels of supervision. For this subset of workers, longer commutes imply higher levels of unemployment and higher wages, which are both consistent with shirking and leisure being substitutable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 753.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0753

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Keywords: Efficiency Wage; Leisure; Urban Unemployment;

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Cited by:
  1. van Ommeren, Jos N. & Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau, Eva, 2011. "Are workers with a long commute less productive? An empirical analysis of absenteeism," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-8, January.
  2. Ross, Stephen L. & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Are Shirking and Leisure Substitutable? An Empirical Test of Efficiency Wages Based on Urban Economic Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 2601, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pellizzari, 2011. "Immigration, Housing Discrimination and Employment," Working Papers 390, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Boeri, Tito & De Philippis, Marta & Patacchini, Eleonora & Pellizzari, Michele, 2012. "Moving to Segregation: Evidence from 8 Italian Cities," IZA Discussion Papers 6834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Homann, Malte & Jensen, Uwe, 2013. "Does better education cause higher income?," HWWI Research Papers 145, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  6. David Heres & Darby Jack & Deborah Salon, 2014. "Do public transport investments promote urban economic development? Evidence from bus rapid transit in Bogotá, Colombia," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 57-74, January.
  7. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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