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Testing whether Unemployment Represents Intertemporal Labour Supply Behaviour

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  • John C. Ham

Abstract

In the Lucas-Rapping (1969) model of the labour market, fluctuations in unemployment represent individuals optimally adjusting their labour supply behaviour in response to fluctuations in wage rates over the business cycle. In this paper I propose and implement a misspecification test of the Lucas-Rapping treatment of unemployment as labour supply behaviour using panel data. This test extends previous such work with micro data by simultaneously allowing for intertemporal substitution, uncertainty and endogenous unemployment. Using the standard specification of intertemporal labour supply behaviour, I find strong evidence against this interpretation of unemployment. There are two possible interpretations of the test results. The first is that it is necessary to turn to alternative models of the labour market in which unemployed workers are off a supply function. The second is that the test results indicate the necessity of moving to more complex models of intertemporal substitution. However, given current econometric techniques and data sets, these alternative models of intertemporal substitution will be extremely difficult to test.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Ham, 1986. "Testing whether Unemployment Represents Intertemporal Labour Supply Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 559-578.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:53:y:1986:i:4:p:559-578.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Schroeder, 2016. "Dynamic labor supply adjustment with bias correction," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(4), pages 1623-1640, December.
    2. John C. Ham & Kevin T. Reilly, 2013. "Implicit Contracts, Life Cycle Labor Supply, And Intertemporal Substitution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1133-1158, November.
    3. Joseph A. Ritter & Lowell J. Taylor, 1998. "Seniority-based layoffs as an incentive device," Working Papers 1998-006, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. Fréchette, Guillaume R., 2009. "Learning in a multilateral bargaining experiment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 153(2), pages 183-195, December.
    5. Roberto González & Hector Sala, 2015. "The Frisch Elasticity in the Mercosur Countries: A Pseudo-Panel Approach," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 33(1), pages 107-131, January.
    6. Usui, Emiko, 2009. "Wages, non-wage characteristics, and predominantly male jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 52-63, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Kuroda, Sachiko & Yamamoto, Isamu, 2008. "Estimating Frisch labor supply elasticity in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 566-585, December.
    9. Smith Conway, Karen & Kimmel, Jean, 1998. "Male labor supply estimates and the decision to moonlight," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 135-166, June.
    10. Yannis M. Ioannides & Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou, 2007. "Unemployment and liquidity constraints," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 479-510.
    11. Jacobs, Kris, 2000. "Estimating Nonseparable Preference Specifications for Asset Market Participants," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1472, Econometric Society.
    12. Robert B. Barsky & Gary Solon, 1989. "Real Wages Over The Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 2888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, April.
    14. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    15. Philip Trostel & Ian Walker, 2006. "Education and Work," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 377-399.
    16. Joseph G. Altonji & Emiko Usui, 2007. "Work Hours, Wages, and Vacation Leave," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(3), pages 408-428, April.
    17. Emiko Usui, 2015. "Occupational gender segregation in an equilibrium search model," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-14, December.
    18. Martinez-Granado, Maite, 2005. "Testing labour supply and hours constraints," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 321-343, June.
    19. Usui, Emiko, 2012. "Gender Occupational Segregation in an Equilibrium Search Model," CIS Discussion paper series 560, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    20. H. Osano & T. Inoue, 1988. "Testing Between Competing Models of Business Cycles: The Efficient Long-Term Contract Hypothesis Versus the Intertemporal Substitution Hypothesis," Discussion Papers 768, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    21. Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Taylor, Lowell J., 2014. "Why do so few women work in New York (and so many in Minneapolis)? Labor supply of married women across US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-71.

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    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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