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Are Shirking and Leisure Substitutable? An Empirical Test of Efficiency Wages based on Urban Economic Theory

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  • Ross, Stephen L.
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

Recent theoretical work has examined the spatial distribution of unemployment using the efficiency wage model as the mechanism by which unemployment arises in the urban economy. This paper extends the standard efficiency wage model in order to allow for behavioural substitution between leisure time at home and effort at work. In equilibrium, residing at a location with a long commute affects the time available for leisure at home and therefore affects the trade-off between effort at work and risk of unemployment. This model implies an empirical relationship between expected commutes and labour market outcomes, which is tested using the Public Use Microdata sample of the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census. The empirical results suggest that efficiency wages operate primarily for blue collar workers, i.e. workers who tend to be in occupations that face higher levels of supervision. For this subset of workers, longer commutes imply higher levels of unemployment and higher wages, which are both consistent with shirking and leisure being substitutable.

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  • Ross, Stephen L. & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Are Shirking and Leisure Substitutable? An Empirical Test of Efficiency Wages based on Urban Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 6841, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6841
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    2. Lorenz, Olga & Goerke, Laszlo, 2015. "Commuting and Sickness Absence," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113173, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. David Heres & Darby Jack & Deborah Salon, 2014. "Do public transport investments promote urban economic development? Evidence from bus rapid transit in Bogotá, Colombia," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 57-74, January.
    4. Homann, Malte & Jensen, Uwe, 2013. "Does better education cause higher income?," HWWI Research Papers 145, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. repec:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:586:p:f82-f114 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Heuermann, Daniel F. & Assmann, Franziska & vom Berge, Philipp & Freund, Florian, 2017. "The distributional effect of commuting subsidies - Evidence from geo-referenced data and a large-scale policy reform," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 11-24.
    7. van Ommeren, Jos N. & Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau, Eva, 2011. "Are workers with a long commute less productive? An empirical analysis of absenteeism," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-8, January.
    8. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pellizzari, 2015. "Immigration, Housing Discrimination and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(586), pages 82-114, August.
    9. Carolin Fritzsche & Lars Vandrei, 2016. "The German Real Estate Transfer Tax: Evidence for Single-Family Home Transactions," ifo Working Paper Series 232, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. Ross, Stephen L. & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Are shirking and leisure substitutable? An empirical test of efficiency wages based on urban economic theory," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 498-517, September.
    11. Torfs, Wouter & Zhao, Liqiu, 2015. "Everybody needs good neighbors? Labor mobility costs, cities and matching," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 39-54.
    12. Bishop, James, 2015. "No Rest for the Weary: Commuting, Hours Worked, and Sleep," MPRA Paper 62162, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Dickerson, Andy & Hole, Arne Risa & Munford, Luke A., 2014. "The relationship between well-being and commuting revisited: Does the choice of methodology matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 321-329.
    14. Åslund, Olof & Blind, Ina & Dahlberg, Matz, 2017. "All aboard? Commuter train access and labor market outcomes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 90-107.
    15. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto & Velilla, Jorge, 2016. "Commuting Time and Sex Ratios in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 9933, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. J. Ignacio, Giménez-Nadal & Jose Alberto, Molina & Jorge, Velilla, 2017. "Leisure and effort at work: incorporating self-employment into urban markets," MPRA Paper 77972, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Del Bello, Carlo L. & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Neighborhood Effects in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 8956, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Georg Hirte & Stefan Tscharaktschiew, 2015. "Why not to choose the most convenient labor supply model? The impact of labor supply modeling on policy evaluation," ERSA conference papers ersa15p303, European Regional Science Association.
    19. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pelizzari, 2010. "Moving to Segregation: Evidence from 8 Italian cities," EIEF Working Papers Series 1109, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2011.

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    Keywords

    Efficiency wage; Leisure; Urban unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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