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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2011. "Are Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities Consistent? A Review of Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 471-475, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:471-75
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
    2. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
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    5. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
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    7. 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.
    8. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2013. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-56.
    9. 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.
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    11. 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.
    12. 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, April.
    13. 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.
    14. Richard Blundell & Antoine Bozio & Guy Laroque, 2011. "Labor Supply and the Extensive Margin," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 482-486, May.
    15. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, May.
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