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Reconciling micro and macro estimates of the Frisch labor supply elasticity

  • William B. Peterman

There are large differences between the microeconometeric estimates of the Frisch labor supply elasticity (0-0.5) and the values used by macroeconomists to calibrate general equilibrium models (2-4). The microeconometric estimates of the Frisch are typically estimated by regressing changes in hours on changes in wages conditional on the individual being a married male head of household, working some minimum number of hours and being of prime working age. In contrast macroeconomic calibration values are typically set such that fluctuations in a general equilibrium model match the observed changes in the aggregate hours and wages from the whole population over time. This paper aims to explain the gap by estimating an aggregate Frisch elasticity which is consistent with the concept of macro calibration values using the microeconometric techniques. In order to estimate the Frisch consistent with the macro concept, this paper alters the typical microeconometric approach in order to incorporate fluctuations on the extensive margin and also broadens the scope of the sample to include single males, females, secondary earners, young individuals, and old individuals. This paper finds that estimates of the aggregate macro Frisch elasticity are in the middle of the range of macroeconomic calibration values (around 3.0). Furthermore, it finds that the key to explaining the difference are the fluctuations on the extensive margin of single males, females, secondary earners, older individuals, and younger individuals.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-75.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-75
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  1. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1995. "Selection corrections for panel data models under conditional mean independence assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 115-132, July.
  2. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2013. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1 - 56.
  3. Kimmel, Jean & Kniesner, Thomas J., 1998. "New evidence on labor supply:: Employment versus hours elasticities by sex and marital status," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 289-301, July.
  4. Contreras, Juan & Sinclair, Sven, 2008. "Labor supply response in macroeconomic models: Assessing the empirical validity of the intertemporal labor supply response from a stochastic overlapping generations model with incomplete markets," MPRA Paper 10533, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Michael Keane & Richard Rogerson, 2012. "Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: A Reassessment of Conventional Wisdom," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 464-76, June.
  6. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Casey B. Mulligan, . "The Intertemporal Substitution of Work--What Does the Evidence Say?," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 95-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  8. Riccardo Fiorito & Giulio Zanella, 2012. "The Anatomy of the Aggregate Labor Supply Elasticity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 171-187, April.
  9. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
  10. Sebastian Dyrda & Greg Kaplan & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2012. "Business Cycles and Household Formation: The Micro vs the Macro Labor Elasticity," NBER Working Papers 17880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  12. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
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