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Trends in U.S. hours and the labor wedge

Author

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  • Simona E. Cociuba
  • Alexander Ueberfeldt

Abstract

From 1980 until 2007, U.S. average hours worked increased by thirteen percent, due to a large increase in female hours. At the same time, the U.S. labor wedge, measured as the discrepancy between a representative household's marginal rate of substitution between consumption and leisure and the marginal product of labor, declined substantially. We examine these trends in a model with heterogeneous households: married couples, single males and single females. Our quantitative analysis shows that the shrinking gender wage gaps and increasing labor income taxes observed in U.S. data are key determinants of hours and the labor wedge. Changes in our model's labor wedge are driven by distortionary taxes and non-distortionary factors, such as cross-sectional differences in households' labor supply and productivity. We conclude that the labor wedge measured from a representative household model partly reflects imperfect household aggregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Simona E. Cociuba & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2010. "Trends in U.S. hours and the labor wedge," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:53
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Labor Supply Heterogeneity
      by Agent Continuum in Agent Continuum on 2010-08-02 10:00:24

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    Cited by:

    1. Murat Tasci & Andrea Pescatori, 2011. "Search Frictions and the Labor Wedge," IMF Working Papers 11/117, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Brinca, Pedro, 2014. "Distortions in the neoclassical growth model: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-19.
    3. Kydland, Finn E. & Zarazaga, Carlos E.J.M., 2016. "Fiscal sentiment and the weak recovery from the Great Recession: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 109-125.
    4. Zarazaga, Carlos E., 2014. "Macroelasticities and the U.S. sequestration budget cuts," Working Papers 1412, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hours of labor ; Taxation ; Households - Economic aspects ; Labor supply ; Wages;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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