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Improving the Modeling of Couples' Labour Supply

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Author Info

  • Breunig, Robert

    ()
    (Australian National University)

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    ()
    (University of Melbourne)

  • Gong, Xiaodong

    ()
    (NATSEM, University of Canberra)

Abstract

We study the work hours of Australian couples, using a neoclassical labour-supply model in which couples choose from a small, realistic set of possible wife-husband working hour combinations We introduce three improvements to this standard model. First, we allow partners' preferences about non-market time to be correlated. We also correct the estimates to account for the fact that we estimate the non-observable wage rates of individuals who do not work. Lastly, we allow each individual's preferences for non-market time to be correlated with her or his wage rate. These changes, which substantially enhance the realism of the standard, discretized labour-supply model, also have an important impact on the results. We estimate the model using HILDA data and find wage elasticities of labour supply – 0.26 for men and 0.50 for women – that are twice as large as those found without these three innovations. Using simulation methods, we then analyze the expected impact of the 2005/06 Australian tax reform. As a result of the tax cuts, we expect working hours to increase by 1.7 per cent for both men and women and household after-tax incomes to increase by approximately $60 per week on average. For families with two wage earners, each earning between $25,000 and $55,000 per year, our model predicts an after-tax increase in income of $38 after accounting for these labour supply effects – much larger than the Australian Government's own prediction of $12, which does not allow for labour supply effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1773.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Record, 2008, 84(267), 466-485
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1773

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Keywords: discretized structural model; family labour supply; Australia; simulated maximum likelihood;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. De Luca, Giuseppe & Rossetti, Claudio & Vuri, Daniela, 2012. "In-Work Benefits for Married Couples: An Ex-Ante Evaluation of EITC and WTC Policies in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 6739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Robert Breunig & Joseph Mercante, 2010. "The Accuracy of Predicted Wages of the Non-Employed and Implications for Policy Simulations from Structural Labour Supply Models," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 49-70, 03.
  3. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breunig & Anthony King, 2011. "Partnered women's labour supply and child care costs in Australia: Measurement error and the child care price," NATSEM Working Paper Series 11/13, University of Canberra, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling.
  4. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breunig, 2012. "Estimating net chid care price elasticities of partnered women with pre-school children using a discrete structural labour supply-child care model," Treasury Working Papers 2012-01, Treasury, Australian Government, revised Nov 2012.
  5. Pacifico, Daniele, 2009. "A behavioral microsimulation model with discrete labour supply for Italian couples," MPRA Paper 14198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Gong, Xiaodong & Breunig, Robert, 2012. "Child Care Assistance: Are Subsidies or Tax Credits Better?," IZA Discussion Papers 6606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jeremy Lawson & Crystal Ossolinski, 2010. "Employment Composition: A Study of Australian Employment Growth, 2002–2006," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2010-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  8. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breuing, 2011. "Estimating Net Child Care Price Elasticities of Partnered Women With Pre-School Children Using a Discrete Structural Labour Supply-Child Care Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 653, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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