The Marginal Worker and the Aggregate Elasticity of Labor Supply
AbstractThis paper attempts to reconcile the high apparent aggregate elasticity of labor supply with small micro estimates. We elaborate on Rogerson's seminal work (1988) and show that his results rely neither on complete markets nor on lotteries, but rather on the indivisibility and the fact that the workforce is homogeneous at the margin. We derive two robust implications of a setup with indivisible labor but without lotteries, using either a complete markets model or an incomplete markets model (solved numerically). (1) Agents with reservation wages far above or below the market wage are less responsive (in labor supply) to the business cycle than agents whose reservation wage is around the market wage. (2) The aggregate elasticity is given by the marginal homogeneity of the workforce. We test implication (1) using the PSID and find support for it. We build an incomplete markets model and calibrate it to cross-sectional moments of hours worked. We show that it can reproduce the feature (1). This allows us to use the model to evaluate the importance of feature (2), i.e. to estimate the aggregate elasticity of labor supply implied by the marginal homogeneity.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 509.
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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indivisible labor; reservation wage distribution; labor supply; business cycles;
Other versions of this item:
- François Gourio & Pierre-Alexandre Noual, 2006. "The Marginal Worker and The Aggregate Elasticity of Labor Supply," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-009, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-01-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2007-01-13 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-LAB-2007-01-13 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2007-01-13 (Macroeconomics)
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