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Discreteness and the Welfare Cost of Labor Supply Tax Distortions

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  • Keshab Bhattarai
  • John Whalley

Abstract

We discuss the role played by discrete labor supply (leisure consumption) choice in" affecting measures of the welfare cost of labor supply tax distortions. We construct comparable" continuous and discrete choice models, each calibrated to have similar aggregate" (uncompensated) labor supply elasticities. In the former, there is a single representative" consumer; in the latter there is a distribution of individuals across preference parameters. In the" discrete model, taxes induce a large response from a subset of the population of the population shows unchanged behavior. Welfare costs of similar taxes in continuous" models can substantially exceed those in discrete models or vice versa formulation used. Experiments are also reported for a two labor type household model with one" continuous variable (secondary labor) and one discrete variable (primary labor) are also made using an empirically based model specification calibrated to UK data. Model" results clearly show that discrete choice matters in the assessment of the cost of labor supply tax" distortions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6280.

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Date of creation: Nov 1997
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Publication status: published as Bhattarai, Keshab and John Whalley. "Discreteness And The Welfare Cost Of Labor Supply Tax Distortions," International Economic Review, 2003, v44(3,Aug), 1117-1133.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6280

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  1. William T. Dickens & Shelly J. Lundberg, 1985. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  3. Kahn, Shulamit & Lang, Kevin, 1991. "The Effect of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 605-11, November.
  4. Stewart, M.B. & Swaffield, J.K., 1996. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 468, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Shoven,John B. & Whalley,John, 1992. "Applying General Equilibrium," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521266550, October.
  6. Piggott, John & Whalley, John, 1996. "The Tax Unit and Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 398-418, April.
  7. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  8. Richard Blundell, 1992. "Labour supply and taxation: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 15-40, January.
  9. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  10. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "Taxes in a Labor Supply Model with Joint Wage-Hours Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 485-507, May.
  12. Martijn P. Tummers & Isolde Woittiez, 1991. "A Simultaneous Wage and Labor Supply Model with Hours Restrictions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 393-423.
  13. Ian Walker & Ian Preston, 1999. "Welfare measurement in labour supply models with nonlinear budget constraints," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 343-361.
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Cited by:
  1. Alzúa, María Laura & Cruces, Guillermo & Ripani, Laura, 2012. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," IZA Discussion Papers 6959, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Shun-ichiro Bessho & Masayoshi Hayashi, 2005. "The CES Utility Function, Non-linear Budget Constraints and Labor Supply : Results on Prime-age Males in Japan," Labor Economics Working Papers 22041, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  3. Frederic Vermeulen & Olivier Bargain & Miriam Beblo & Denis Beninger & Richard Blundell & Raquel Carrasco & Maria-Concetta Chiuri & François Laisney & Valérie Lechene & Nicolas Moreau & Michal Myck , 2006. "Collective Models of Labor Supply with Nonconvex Budget Sets and Nonparticipation: A Calibration Approach," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 113-127, 06.
  4. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
  5. Bargain, Olivier & Moreau, Nicolas, 2005. "Is the Collective Model of Labor Supply Useful for Tax Policy Analysis? A Simulation Exercise," IZA Discussion Papers 1451, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Hayashi, Masayoshi, 2011. "Labor supply response and preferences specification: Estimates for prime-age males in Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 398-411, October.

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