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Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records

  • Raj Chetty
  • John N. Friedman
  • Tore Olsen
  • Luigi Pistaferri

We show that the effects of taxes on labor supply are shaped by interactions between adjustment costs for workers and hours constraints set by firms. We develop a model in which firms post job offers characterized by an hours requirement and workers pay search costs to find jobs. We present evidence supporting three predictions of this model by analyzing bunching at kinks using Danish tax records. First, larger kinks generate larger taxable income elasticities. Second, kinks that apply to a larger group of workers generate larger elasticities. Third, the distribution of job offers is tailored to match workers' aggregate tax preferences in equilibrium. Our results suggest that macro elasticities may be substantially larger than the estimates obtained using standard microeconometric methods. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 126 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 749-804

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:2:p:749-804
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