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Modes of Spousal Interaction and the Labor Market Environment

  • Daniela Del Boca
  • Christopher J. Flinn

We formulate a model of household behavior in which cooperation is costly and in which these costs vary across households. Some households rationally decide to behave noncooperatively, which in our context is an efficient outcome. An intriguing feature of the model is that, while the welfare of the spouses is continuous in the state variables, labor supply decisions are not. Small changes in state variables may result in large changes in labor supplies when the household switches its mode of behavior. We estimate the model using a nationally representative sample of Italian households and find that the costly cooperation model signfificantly outperforms a noncooperative model. This suggests the possibility of attaining large gains in aggregate labor supply by adopting policies which promote cooperative household behavior.

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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 14.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:14
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  1. Blundell, Richard & Chiappori, Pierre-André & Magnac, Thierry & Meghir, Costas, 2005. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Nonparticipation," IZA Discussion Papers 1785, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  3. Fortin, B. & Lacroix, G., 1993. "A Test of the Neoclassical and Collective Models of Household Labour Supply," Papers 9335, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
  4. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  5. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  6. Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P-A., 1991. "Collective Models of Household Behaviour: An Introduction," DELTA Working Papers 91-29, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1990. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 237-42, February.
  8. Kooreman, P. & Kapteyn, A.J., 1989. "On the empirical implementation of some game theoretic models of household labor supply," Discussion Paper 1989-56, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. 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.
  10. Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality," Virginia Economics Online Papers 322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  11. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  12. Flinn, Christopher J, 2000. "Modes of Interaction between Divorced Parents," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 545-78, August.
  13. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
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