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On the role of unobserved preference heterogeneity in discrete choice models of labour supply

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  • Daniele Pacifico

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the role of unobserved preference heterogeneity in structural discrete choice models of labour supply. Within this framework, unobserved heterogeneity has been estimated either parametrically or semiparametrically through random coefficient models. Nevertheless, the estimation of such models by means of standard, gradient-based methods is often difficult, in particular if the number of random parameters is high. For this reason, the role of unobserved taste variability in empirical studies is often constrained since only a small set of coefficients is assumed to be random. However, this simplification may affect the estimated labour supply elasticities and the subsequent policy recommendations. In this paper, we propose a new estimation method based on an EM algorithm that allows us to fully consider the effect of unobserved heterogeneity nonparametrically. Results show that labour supply elasticities and other post-estimation results change significantly only when unobserved heterogeneity is considered in a more flexible and comprehensive manner. Moreover, we analyse the behavioural effects of the introduction of a working-tax credit scheme in the Italian tax-benefit system and show that the magnitude of labour supply reactions and the post-reform income distribution can differ significantly depending on the specification of unobserved heterogeneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia Politica in its series Center for the Analysis of Public Policies (CAPP) with number 0071.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:mod:cappmo:0071

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Web page: http://www.capp.unimore.it
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Keywords: behavioural microsimulation; labour supply; unobserved heterogeneity; random coefficient mixed models; EM algorithm;

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  1. Denise Doiron & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Demands for Child Care and Household Labour Supply in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(254), pages 215-236, 09.
  2. Frederic Vermeulen, 2006. "A collective model for female labour supply with non-participation and taxation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 99-118, February.
  3. Massimo Baldini & Daniele Pacifico, 2009. "The recent reforms of the Italian personal income tax: distributive and efficiency effects," Department of Economics 0611, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  4. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
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  7. Vermeulen, F.M.P. & Bargain, O. & Beblo, M. & Beninger, D. & Blundell, R. & Carrasco, R. & Chiuri, M-C. & Laisney, F. & Lechene, V. & Moreau, N. & Myck, M. & Ruiz-castillo, J., 2006. "Collective models of labor supply with nonconvex budget sets and nonparticipation: A calibration approach," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-194160, Tilburg University.
  8. Daniele Pacifico, 2011. "Estimating nonparametric mixed Logit Models via EM algorithm," Department of Economics 0663, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
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  12. Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2007. "Optimal Taxation: The Design of Child Related Cash- and In-Kind-Benefits," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 65, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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  16. Andrew Chesher & J. M. C. Santos Silva, 2002. "Taste Variation in Discrete Choice Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 147-168.
  17. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kabatek, J., 2013. "Iteration Capping For Discrete Choice Models Using the EM Algorithm," Discussion Paper 2013-019, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Richiardi Matteo & Poggi Ambra, 2012. "Imputing Individual Effects in Dynamic Microsimulation Models. An application of the Rank Method," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201213, University of Turin.
  3. André De Palma & Nathalie Picard & Ignacio Inoa, 2014. "Discrete Choice Decision-Making with Multiple Decision Makers within the Household," Working Papers hal-00969216, HAL.
  4. Lars Kunze & Nicolai Suppa, 2013. "Job Characteristics and Labour Supply," Ruhr Economic Papers 0418, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  5. Shun-ichiro Bessho & Masayoshi Hayashi, 2011. "Should Japanese Tax System Be More Progressive?," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd10-181, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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