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Aggregate labor supply

  • Edward C. Prescott
  • Johanna Wallenius

Macroeconomics has made tremendous advances following the introduction of labor supply into the field. Today, it is widely acknowledged that labor supply matters for many key economic issues, particularly for business cycles and tax policy analysis. However, the extent to which labor supply matters for such questions depends on the aggregate labor supply elasticity—that is, the sensitivity of the time allocation between market and nonmarket activities. For several decades, the magnitude of the aggregate labor supply elasticity has been the subject of much debate. In this article, we review the debate and conclude that the elasticity of labor supply of the aggregate household is much higher than the elasticity of the identical households being aggregated. The aggregate household utility function differs from the individuals’ utility functions for the same reason that the aggregate production function differs from the individual firms’ production functions being aggregated. The differences in individual and aggregate supply elasticities are what aggregation theory predicts.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): Oct ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2012:i:oct:n:v.35no.2
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  1. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From individual to aggregate labor supply : a quantitative analysis based on a heterogeneous agent macroeconomy," Working Paper 03-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  2. 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.
  3. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-Term Changes in Labor Supply and Taxes: Evidence from OECD Countries, 1956-2004," NBER Working Papers 12786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2012. "Taxation and Household Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1113-1149.
  6. 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.
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  9. Heckman, James J & Macurdy, Thomas E, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74, January.
  10. Edward C. Prescott & Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Lifetime aggregate labor supply with endogenous workweek length," Staff Report 400, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. 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.
  12. Johanna Wallenius, 2011. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution of Labor: How Large is the Bias?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 577-591, October.
  13. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  14. Joseph Altonji, 1984. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Working Papers 562, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  17. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "Labor supply elasticity and social security reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 867-878, August.
  18. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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  22. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521873161 is not listed on IDEAS
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