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Are Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities Consistent? A Review of Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins

  • Raj Chetty
  • Adam Guren
  • Day Manoli
  • Andrea Weber

We evaluate whether state-of-the-art macro models featuring indivisible labor are consistent with modern quasi-experimental micro evidence by synthesizing evidence on both the intensive and extensive margins. We find that micro estimates are consistent with macro estimates of the steady-state (Hicksian) elasticities relevant for cross-country comparisons on both the extensive and intensive margins. However, micro estimates of intertemporal substitution (Frisch) elasticities are an order of magnitude smaller than the values needed to explain business cycle fluctuations in aggregate hours by preferences. The key puzzle to be resolved is why micro and macro estimates of the Frisch extensive margin elasticity are so different.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.3.471
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 471-75

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:471-75
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  1. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2012. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2012, Volume 27, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
  4. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2007. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," Discussion Papers 07-010, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  5. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  6. Chetty, Nadarajan, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Scholarly Articles 9748524, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  8. Luigi Pistaferri, 2003. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 729-754, July.
  9. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  10. Richard Blundell & Antoine Bozio & Guy Laroque, 2011. "Labor Supply and the Extensive Margin," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 482-86, May.
  11. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  12. Marco Bianchi & Bjorn R. Gudmundsson & Gylfi Zoega, 2001. "Iceland's Natural Experiment in Supply-Side Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1564-1579, December.
  13. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
  14. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
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