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New York City Cabdrivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependence Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income

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  • Crawford, Vincent P.
  • Meng, Juanjuan

Abstract

This paper reconsiders whether cabdrivers' labor supply decisions reflect reference-dependent preferences. Following Botond Koszegi and Matthew Rabin (2006), we construct a model with targets for hours as well as income, both determined by rational expectations. Estimating using Henry S. Farber's (2005, 2008) data, we show that the reference-dependent model can reconcile his 2005 finding that drivers' stopping probabilities are significantly related to hours but not income with the negative wage elasticity of hours found by Colin Camerer et al. (1997) and Farber (2005, 2008). The model yields sensible estimates that avoid Farber's (2008) criticism that drivers' income targets are too unstable to allow a useful reference-dependent model of labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Crawford, Vincent P. & Meng, Juanjuan, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependence Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt94w5n6j9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt94w5n6j9
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    2. Colin Camerer & Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-441.
    3. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Daily Labor Supply of Stadium Vendors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 360-392, April.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
    6. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-1082, June.
    7. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1047-1073, September.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    9. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
    10. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2009. "Reference-Dependent Consumption Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 909-936, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    reference-dependent preferences; labor supply; behavioral economics;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation

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