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The aggregate implications of individual labor supply heterogeneity

  • José Mustre-del-Río

This paper examines the Frisch elasticity at the extensive margin of labor supply in an economy consistent with the observed dispersion in average employment rates across individuals. An incomplete markets economy with indivisible labor is presented where agents differ in their disutility of labor and market skills. The model's key parameters are estimated using indirect inference with panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth-NLSY. The estimated model implies an elasticity of aggregate employment of 0.71. A simple decomposition reveals that labor disutility dierences, which capture the dispersion in employment rates, are crucial for this quantitative result. These differences alone generate an elasticity of 0.69. Meanwhile, skill differences alone imply an elasticity of 1.1. These results suggest that the literature generates large employment elasticities by ignoring individual labor supply differences.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 11-09.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp11-09
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  1. Guner, Nezih & Kaygusuz, Remzi & Ventura, Gustavo, 2008. "Taxation, Aggregates and the Household," CEPR Discussion Papers 6702, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cho, Jang-Ok, 1995. "Ex post heterogeneity and the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 533-551, April.
  3. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2009. "Comparative Advantage and Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 547, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Tony Smith & M. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Inferring Labor Income Risk from Economic Choices: An Indirect Inference Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 1024, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Krusell, Per & Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Rogerson, Richard & Sahin, Aysegul, 2009. "A Three State Model of Worker Flows in General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 7425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From individual to aggregate labor supply : a quantitative analysis based on a heterogeneous agent macroeconomy," Working Paper 03-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  7. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2000. "Eliminating Race Differences in School Attainment and Labor Market Success," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 614-52, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Anthony A. Smith, Jr. & Michael Keane, 2004. "Generalized Indirect Inference for Discrete Choice Models," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 512, Econometric Society.
  11. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," CAM Working Papers 2010-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
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