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On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes

  • Abowd, John M
  • Card, David

This paper presents an empirical analysis of individual earnings and hours data from three different longitudinal surveys. In the first part of the paper, the authors catalog the main features of the covariance structure of earnings and hours changes. In the second part of the paper, they offer an interpretation of this model in terms of a simple life-cycle, labor-supply model. On the assumption that they can identify individual productivity growth with the shared component of earnings and hours variation, the authors obtain estimates of the intertemporal substitution elasticity. The results are not favorable to the life-cycle model: most of the covariation of earnings occurs at fixed hourly wage rates. Copyright 1989 by The Econometric Society.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 57 (1989)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 411-45

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:57:y:1989:i:2:p:411-45
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  1. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  3. John Abowd & David Card, 1984. "Intertemporal Substitution in the Presence of Long Term Contracts," Working Papers 546, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
  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. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, October.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521299169 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
  9. John Abowd & Orley Ashenfelter, 1980. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs and Compensating Wage Differentials," Working Papers 517, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "Optimal Labour Contracts under Asymmetric Information: An Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 3-35, January.
  11. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
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