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Local price variation and labor supply behavior

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  • Dan A. Black
  • Natalia A. Kolesnikova
  • Lowell J. Taylor

Abstract

In standard economic theory, labor supply decisions depend on the complete set of prices: the wage and the prices of relevant consumption goods. Nonetheless, most of theoretical and empirical work ignores prices other than wages when studying labor supply. The question we address in this paper is whether the common practice of ignoring local price variation in labor supply studies is as innocuous as has generally been assumed. We describe a simple model to demonstrate that the effects of wage and non-labor income on labor supply will typically differ by location. We show, in particular, the derivative of the labor supply with respect to non-labor income will be independent of price only when labor supply takes a form based on an implausible separability condition. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the effect of price on labor supply is not a simple "up-or down shift" that would be required to meet the separability condition in our key proposition.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan A. Black & Natalia A. Kolesnikova & Lowell J. Taylor, 2008. "Local price variation and labor supply behavior," Working Papers 2008-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-016
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    1. Orley Ashenfelter & William J. Collins & Albert Yoon, 2006. "Evaluating the Role of Brown v. Board of Education in School Equalization, Desegregation, and the Income of African Americans," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 213-248.
    2. 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.
    3. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    4. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    5. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
    6. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
    7. Donald R. Haurin, 1980. "The Regional Distribution of Population, Migration, and Climate," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 293-308.
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    9. Michael Abbott & Orley Ashenfelter, 1976. "Labour Supply, Commodity Demand and the Allocation of Time," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 389-411.
    10. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Campus & Gianna Giannelli, 2016. "Is the Allocation of Time Gender Sensitive to Food Price Changes? An Investigation of Hours of Work in Uganda," Working Papers - Economics wp2016_16.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    2. John V. Winters, 2013. "Human capital externalities and employment differences across metropolitan areas of the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 799-822, September.
    3. Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Taylor, Lowell J., 2014. "Why do so few women work in New York (and so many in Minneapolis)? Labor supply of married women across US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-71.

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    Keywords

    Labor supply ; Price levels;

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