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Explaining Age and Gender Differences in Employment Rates: A Labor Supply Side Perspective

  • Stephan Humpert
  • Christian Pfeifer

This paper takes a labor supply perspective (neoclassical labor supply, job search) to explain the lower employment rates of older workers and women. The basic rationale is that workers choose non-employed if their reservation wages are larger than the offered wages. Whereas the offered wages depend on workers' productivity and firms' decisions, reservation wages are largely determined by workers' endowments and preferences for leisure. To shed some empirical light on this issue, we use German survey data to analyze age and gender differences in reservation and entry wages, preferred and actual working hours, and satisfaction with leisure and work.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.401328.de/diw_sp0449.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 449.

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Length: 66 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp449
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  1. Sarah Brown & Jennifer Roberts & Karl Taylor, 2010. "The gender reservation wage gap: evidence from British panel data," Working Papers 2010010, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised May 2010.
  2. John T. Addison & Mário Centeno & Pedro Portugal, 2008. "Do Reservation Wages Really Decline?: Some International Evidence on the Determinants of Reservation Wages," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 85, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Steiner, Viktor, 2001. " Unemployment Persistence in the West German Labour Market: Negative Duration Dependence or Sorting?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 91-113, February.
  4. Sholeh A. Maani & A. H. Studenmund, 1986. "The Critical Wage, Unemployment Duration, and Wage Expectations: The Case of Chile," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(2), pages 264-276, January.
  5. Gordon, Roger H. & Blinder, Alan S., 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 277-308, October.
  6. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Two Questions about European Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 1-29, 01.
  7. Robert Shimer & Ivan Werning, 2006. "Reservation Wages and Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 12618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bloemen, Hans G & Stancanelli, Elena G F, 2001. "Individual Wealth, Reservation Wages, and Transitions into Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 400-439, April.
  9. Katrin Schleife, 2006. "Computer Use and Employment Status of Older Workers - An Analysis Based on Individual Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 325-348, 06.
  10. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2010. "Friends' Networks and Job Finding Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 5240, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Gielen, A. C., 2007. "Working Hours Flexibility and Older Workers' Labor Supply," Discussion Paper 2007-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Mortensen, Dale T, 1970. "Job Search, the Duration of Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 847-62, December.
  13. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 50, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Kiefer, Nicholas M & Neumann, George R, 1979. "An Empirical Job-Search Model, with a Test of the Constant Reservation-Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 89-107, February.
  15. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
  16. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  17. Sarah Brown & Jenny Roberts & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Reservation Wages, Labour Market Participation And Health," Working Papers 2008002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2008.
  18. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, December.
  19. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Wilke, Ralf A., 2004. "Unemployment Durations in West-Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System During the 1980s," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-24, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  20. Amelie Constant & Annabelle Krause & Ulf Rinne & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2010. "Reservation Wages of First and Second Generation Migrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1089, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  21. Wolfgang Franz, 1980. "The Reservation Wage of Unemployed Persons in the Federal Republic of Germany: Theory and Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 0578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Enswar Prasad, 2001. "The Dynamics of Reservation Wages: Preliminary Evidence from the GSOEP," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(1), pages 44-50.
  23. Robert M. Hutchens, 1988. "Do Job Opportunities Decline with Age?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 89-99, October.
  24. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Life Cycle Consumption and Labor Supply: An Explanation of the Relationship Between Income and Consumption Over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 188-94, March.
  25. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
  26. Chan, Sewin & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2001. "Job Loss and Employment Patterns of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 484-521, April.
  27. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Reservation Wages and the Cost of Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 225-46, May.
  28. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  29. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1991. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Retirement and Economic Welfare," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(230), pages 215-32, May.
  30. Pannenberg, Markus, 2010. "Risk attitudes and reservation wages of unemployed workers: Evidence from panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 223-226, March.
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