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Reconciling Micro And Macro Estimates Of The Frisch Labor Supply Elasticity

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  • William B. Peterman

Abstract

type="main" xml:id="ecin12252-abs-0001"> This paper explores the large gap between the microeconometric estimates of the Frisch labor supply elasticity (0–.5) and the values used by macroeconomists to calibrate general equilibrium models (2–4). These two ranges identify two fundamentally different notions, the micro and macro Frisch elasticity, respectively. Due to the different definitions, there are two restrictions in the micro Frisch elasticity that are relaxed in the macro Frisch elasticity. First, the micro Frisch elasticity focuses only on prime-aged married males who are the head of their household, while the macro Frisch elasticity represents the whole population. Second, the micro Frisch elasticity only incorporates intensive margin fluctuations in hours, while the macro Frisch elasticity includes both intensive and extensive margin fluctuations. This paper finds that relaxing these two restrictions causes estimates of the Frisch elasticity to increase from 0.2 to between 2.9 and 3.1, indicating that these two restrictions can explain the gap between the microeconometric estimates and the calibration values. However, this paper demonstrates that these estimates of the macro Frisch elasticity are sensitive to the estimation procedure and also the exclusion of older individuals, implying that calibration values used for macroeconomic models should be selected carefully. (JEL E24, J22)

Suggested Citation

  • William B. Peterman, 2016. "Reconciling Micro And Macro Estimates Of The Frisch Labor Supply Elasticity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 100-120, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:54:y:2016:i:1:p:100-120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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