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A search-theoretic explanation for the negative correlation between labor income and impatience

  • Cysne, Rubens Penha

Lawrance (1991) has shown, through the estimation of consumption Euler equations, that subjective rates of impatience (time preference) in the U.S. are three to Öve percentage points higher for households with lower average labor incomes than for those with higher labor income. From a theoretical perspective, the sign of this correlation in a job-search model seems at Örst to be undetermined, since more impatient workers tend to accept wage o§ers that less impatient workers would not, thereby remaining less time unemployed. The main result of this paper is showing that, regardless of the existence of e§ects of opposite sign, and independently of the particular speciÖcations of the givens of the model, less impatient workers always end up, in the long run, with a higher average income. The result is based on the (unique) invariant Markov distribution of wages associated with the dynamic optimization problem solved by the consumers. An example is provided to illustrate the method.

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Paper provided by FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) with number 558.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:558
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  1. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
  2. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
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