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Wage Dynamics and Unobserved Heterogeneity: Time Preference of Learning Ability?

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  • Lalith Munasinghe
  • Nachum Sicherman

Abstract

A large portion of the variation in wages and wage growth rates among individuals is due to "unobserved" heterogeneity, and the source of individual heterogeneity is typically attributed to data limitations and/or the unobservability of certain productivity related factors. In this paper we develop a test that discriminates between two inherently unobservable sources of heterogeneity (both of which can clearly account for the variation in wages and wage growth rates): learning ability and workers' inter-temporal preferences (discounting). We apply this test to the large observed differences in wages and wage growth rates between smokers and non-smokers. The evidence supports the discounting hypothesis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11031.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11031

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  1. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  2. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  3. Victor R. Fuchs, 1980. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 0539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lalith Munasinghe & Nachum Sicherman, 2006. "Why Do Dancers Smoke? Smoking, Time Preference, and Wage Dynamics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 595-616, Fall.
  5. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
  6. William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1994. "Education and Health: Where There's Smoke There's an Instrument," NBER Working Papers 4949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Munasinghe, Lalith, 2000. "Wage Growth and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 204-20, April.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  9. Phillip B. Levine & Tara A. Gustafson & Ann D. Velenchik, 1995. "More Bad News for Smokers? The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hersch, Joni, 2000. " Gender, Income Levels, and the Demand for Cigarettes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 263-82, November.
  12. Sander, William, 1995. "Schooling and smoking," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 23-33, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Lalith Munasinghe & Nachum Sicherman, 2006. "Why Do Dancers Smoke? Smoking, Time Preference, and Wage Dynamics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 595-616, Fall.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2007-31 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Drago, Francesco, 2006. "Career Consequences of Hyperbolic Time Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 2113, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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