IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches

In: Handbook of Labor Economics

Listed author(s):
  • Blundell, Richard
  • Macurdy, Thomas

This chapter surveys existing approaches to modeling labor supply and identifies important gaps in the literature that could be addressed in future research. The discussion begins with a look at recent policy reforms and labor market facts that motivate the study of labor supply. The analysis then presents a unifying framework that allows alternative empirical formulations of the labor supply model to be compared and their resulting elasticities to be interpreted. This is followed by critical reviews of alternative approaches to labor-supply modeling. The first review assesses the difference-in-differences approach and its relationship to natural experiments. The second analyzes estimation with non-linear budget constraints and welfare-program participation. The third appraises developments of family labor-supply models including both the standard unitary and collective labor-supply formulations. The fourth briefly explores dynamic extensions of the labor supply model, characterizing how participation decisions, learning-by-doing, human capital accumulation and habit formation affect the analysis of the lifecycle model. At the end of each of the four broad reviews, we summarize a selection of the recent empirical findings. The concluding section asks whether the developments reviewed in this chapter place us in a better position to answer the policy-reform questions and to interpret the trends in participation and hours with which we began this review.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5V-4FPGMDP-8/2/dc5d9dbc9d6ea0476c9c625f38c9411a
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

as
in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Labor Economics with number 3-27.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:labchp:3-27
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Richard Blundell & Ian Walker, 1986. "A Life-Cycle Consistent Empirical Model of Family Labour Supply Using Cross-Section Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 539-558.
    2. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    3. Nakamura, Alice & Nakamura, Masao, 1981. "A Comparison of the Labor Force Behavior of Married Women in the United States and Canada, with Special Attention to the Impact of Income Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 451-489, March.
    4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Ham, John, 1979. "Education, Unemployment, and Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 99-116, October.
    5. Blundell, Richard & Magnac, Thierry & Meghir, Costas, 1997. "Savings and Labor-Market Transitions," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 153-164, April.
    6. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    7. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Johnson, Paul, 1998. "Pensions and Labor-Market Participation in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 168-172, May.
    9. Peter Kooreman & Arie Kapteyn, 1990. "On the Empirical Implementation of Some Game Theoretic Models of Household Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 584-598.
    10. Adrian Pagan, 1986. "Two Stage and Related Estimators and Their Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 517-538.
    11. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80.
    12. Marjorie B. McElroy, 1990. "The Empirical Content of Nash-Bargained Household Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 559-583.
    13. Woittiez, Isolde & Kapteyn, Arie, 1998. "Social interactions and habit formation in a model of female labour supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 185-205, November.
    14. Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
    15. N. S. Blomquist & U. Hansson-Brusewitz, 1990. "The Effect of Taxes on Male and Female Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 317-357.
    16. Nada Eissa, 1995. "Taxation and Labor Supply of Married Women: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
    18. Moffitt, Robert, 1993. "Identification and estimation of dynamic models with a time series of repeated cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 99-123, September.
    19. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
    20. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1989. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply with Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 431-456, May.
    21. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
    22. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-963, June.
    23. Wales, T J & Woodland, A D, 1976. "Estimation of Household Utility Functions and Labor Supply Response," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 17(2), pages 397-410, June.
    24. Soren Blomquist & Whitney Newey, 2002. "Nonparametric Estimation with Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2455-2480, November.
    25. Arrufat, Jose Luis & Zabalza, Antonio, 1986. "Female Labor Supply with Taxation, Random Preferences, and Optimization Errors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 47-63, January.
    26. Harvey S. Rosen, 1978. "The Measurement of Excess Burden with Explicit Utility Functions," NBER Chapters,in: Research in Taxation, pages 121-135 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Newey, Whitney K & Powell, James L & Walker, James R, 1990. "Semiparametric Estimation of Selection Models: Some Empirical Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 324-328, May.
    28. Leora Friedberg, 2000. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 48-63, February.
    29. 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.
    30. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, 1993. "Conditional Choice Probabilities and the Estimation of Dynamic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 497-529.
    31. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    32. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 44-64, Supplemen.
    33. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1988. "Child-Care Costs and Family Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 374-381, August.
    34. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1986. "Estimation of Rationed and Unrationed Household Labour Supply Functions Using Flexible Functional Forms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 398-412, June.
    35. Blomquist, Sören & Newey, Whitney, 1997. "Nonparametric Estimation of Labor Supply Functions Generated by Piece Wise Linear Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 1997:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    36. Apps, Patricia F & Rees, Ray, 1997. "Collective Labor Supply and Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 178-190, February.
    37. 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 503-543, May.
    38. Paul Bingley & Gauthier Lanot & Elizabeth Symons & Ian Walker, 1995. "Child Support Reform and the Labor Supply of Lone Mothers in the United Kingdom," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 256-279.
    39. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    40. 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 11-44, August.
    41. Apps, P. F. & Rees, R., 1996. "Labour supply, household production and intra-family welfare distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 199-219, May.
    42. W. M. Gorman, 1968. "The Structure of Utility Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(4), pages 367-390.
    43. Johnson, Terry R & Pencavel, John H, 1984. "Dynamic Hours of Work Functions for Husbands, Wives, and Single Females," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 363-389, March.
    44. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1997. "Introducing Household Production in Collective Models of Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 191-209, February.
    45. Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Sodersten, Jan, 1996. "Tax Reform of the Century -- the Swedish Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 643-664, December.
    46. Heckman, James J, 1993. "What Has Been Learned about Labor Supply in the Past Twenty Years?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 116-121, May.
    47. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
    48. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    49. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1998. "Unemployment, discouraged workers and female labour supply," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 103-131, June.
    50. Ransom, Michael R, 1987. "An Empirical Model of Discrete and Continuous Choice in Family Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 465-472, August.
    51. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Van Soest, 1997. "Wage structures in the private and public sectors in West Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(3), pages 225-247, August.
    52. Moffitt, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1992. "The Effect of the Medicaid Program on Welfare Participation and Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 615-626, November.
    53. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
    54. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1986. "Selection Criteria for a Microeconometric Model of Labour Supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 55-80, January.
    55. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1990. "Household Choices in Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 543-570, May.
    56. Blundell, Richard W & Walker, Ian, 1982. "Modelling the Joint Determination of Household Labour Supplies and Commodity Demands," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 351-364, June.
    57. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-799, July.
    58. Ilmakunnas, Seija & Pudney, Stephen, 1990. "A model of female labour supply in the presence of hours restrictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 183-210, March.
    59. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1983. "A Simple Scheme for Estimating an Intertemporal Model of Labor Supply and Consumption in the Presence of Taxes and Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(2), pages 265-289, June.
    60. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    61. Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
    62. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 375-390.
    63. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 176-215, June.
    64. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    65. David C. Ribar, 1992. "Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women: Reduced Form Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 134-165.
    66. Joseph G. Altonji, 1982. "The Intertemporal Substitution Model of Labour Market Fluctuations: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(5), pages 783-824.
    67. Hausman, Jerry A., 1985. "Taxes and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 213-263 Elsevier.
    68. Bover, Olympia, 1989. "Estimating Intertemporal Labour Supply Elasticities Using Structural Models," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1026-1039, December.
    69. N. Sören Blomquist, 1985. "Labour Supply in a Two-Period Model: The Effect of a Nonlinear Progressive Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 515-524.
    70. Blundell, Richard & Duncan, Alan & Meghir, Costas, 1992. "Taxation in Empirical Labour Supply Models: Lone Mothers in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 265-278, March.
    71. Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    72. Robert K. Triest, 1990. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Labor Supply in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 491-516.
    73. Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
    74. Angrist, Joshua D., 1991. "Grouped-data estimation and testing in simple labor-supply models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 243-266, February.
    75. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-178, May.
    76. Flood, Lennart & MaCurdy, Thomas, 1992. "Work disincentive effects of taxes: An empirical analysis of Swedish men," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 239-277, December.
    77. François Bourguignon & Thierry Magnac, 1990. "Labor Supply and Taxation in France," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 358-389.
    78. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    79. Thomas Fraker & Robert Moffitt & Douglas Wolf, 1985. "Effective Tax Rates and Guarantees in the AFDC Program, 1967-1982," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(2), pages 251-263.
    80. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
    81. Fortin, B. & Lacroix, G., 1993. "A Test of the Neoclassical and Collective Models of Household Labour Supply," Papers 9335, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
    82. Michael Abbott & Orley Ashenfelter, 1976. "Labour Supply, Commodity Demand and the Allocation of Time," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 389-411.
    83. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Neves, Pedro, 1993. "Labour supply and intertemporal substitution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 137-160, September.
    84. Gruber, Jonathan & Wise, David, 1998. "Social Security and Retirement: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 158-163, May.
    85. Nerlove, Marc, 1971. "A Note on Error Components Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(2), pages 383-396, March.
    86. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
    87. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Symons, Elizabeth & Walker, Ian, 1988. "Labour supply specification and the evaluation of tax reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 23-52, June.
    88. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
    89. Blundell, Richard William, 1987. "Econometric Approaches to the Specification of Life-Cycle Labour Supply and Commodity Demand Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 150, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    90. Zabalza, Antoni, 1983. "The CES Utility Function, Non-Linear Budget Constraints and Labour Supply: Results on Female Participation and Hours," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(37), pages 312-330, June.
    91. Amemiya, Takeshi & MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1986. "Instrumental-Variable Estimation of an Error-Components Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 869-880, July.
    92. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1988. "Labor Supply of Husbands and Wives: A Simultaneous Equations Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 224-235, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labchp:3-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.