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Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004

  • Lee E. Ohanian
  • Andrea Raffo
  • Richard Rogerson

We document large differences in trend changes in hours worked across OECD countries over the period 1956-2004. We then assess the extent to which these changes are consistent with the intratemporal first order condition from the neoclassical growth model. We find large and trending deviations from this condition, and that the model can account for virtually none of the changes in hours worked. We then extend the model to incorporate observed changes in taxes. Our findings suggest that taxes can account for much of the variation in hours worked both over time and across countries.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 06-16.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp06-16
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  1. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  2. Ingram, Beth Fisher & Kocherlakota, Narayana R. & Savin, N. E., 1994. "Explaining business cycles: A multiple-shock approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 415-428, December.
  3. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S223-50, January.
  6. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
  7. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen McGrattan, 2004. "Business Cycle Accounting," NBER Working Papers 10351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  12. Bencivenga, Valerie R, 1992. "An Econometric Study of Hours and Output Variation with Preference Shocks," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(2), pages 449-71, May.
  13. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "The U.S. and U.K. Great Depressions Through the Lens of Neoclassical Growth Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 28-32, May.
  14. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  15. Parkin, Michael, 1988. "A method for determining whether parameters in aggregative models are structural," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 215-252, January.
  16. Valerie Ramey & Neville Francis, 2006. "A Century of Work and Leisure," Working Papers id:546, eSocialSciences.
  17. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and market work: is Scandinavia an outlier?," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 59-85, July.
  18. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2005. "Marketization of household production and the EU–US gap in work," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(41), pages 6-50, 01.
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