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A Shred of Credible Evidence on the Long-run Elasticity of Labour Supply




All public policies regarding taxation and the redistribution of income rely on assumptions about the long-run effect of wages rates on labour supply. The variation in existing estimates calls for a simple, natural experiment in which men can change their hours of work, and in which wages have been exogenously and permanently changed. We use a panel dataset of taxi drivers who choose their own hours, and who experienced two exogenous permanent fare increases, and estimate an elasticity of labour supply of - 0.2, implying that income effects dominate substitution effects in the long-run labour supply of males. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2010.

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  • Orley Ashenfelter & Kirk Doran & Bruce Schaller, 2010. "A Shred of Credible Evidence on the Long-run Elasticity of Labour Supply," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 637-650, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:77:y:2010:i:308:p:637-650

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John C. Ham, 1982. "Estimation of a Labour Supply Model with Censoring Due to Unemployment and Underemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 335-354.
    2. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    4. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 44-64, Supplemen.
    5. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
    6. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
    7. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-276, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ignacio Álvarez & Natalia da Silva & Álvaro Forteza & Ianina Rossi, 2012. "Incentivos y patrones de retiro en Uruguay," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 27(2), pages 219-271.
    2. Doran, Kirk, 2014. "Are long-term wage elasticities of labor supply more negative than short-term ones?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 208-210.
    3. Pencavel, John, 2015. "The labor supply of self-employed workers: The choice of working hours in worker co-ops," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 677-689.
    4. Brodeur, Abel & Nield, Kerry, 2016. "Has Uber Made It Easier to Get a Ride in the Rain?," IZA Discussion Papers 9986, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. John Pencavel, 2016. "Whose Preferences Are Revealed In Hours Of Work?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 9-24, January.
    6. Alexandre Mas & Amanda Pallais, 2017. "Labor Supply and the Value of Non-Work Time: Experimental Estimates from the Field," NBER Working Papers 23906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Soldatos, Gerasimos T. & Varelas, Erotokritos, 2017. "Firms’ rational expectations, workers’ psychology, and monetary policy in a behavioral real business cycle model," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 129-139.
    8. Francis Green & Alan Felstead & Duncan Gallie & Hande Inanc, 2016. "Job-Related Well-Being Through the Great Recession," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 389-411, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General


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