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Microfoundations and macro implications of indivisible labor

  • Casey B. Mulligan

I show that the “indivisible labor” models of Diamond and Mirrlees (1978, 1986), Hansen (1985), Rogerson (1988), Christiano and Eichenbaum (1992) and many others are, when aggregated across persons with the same marginal utility of income, equivalent to the divisible labor model of Lucas and Rapping (1969); any data on aggregate hours and earnings generated by the divisible (indivisible) model can be generated by some parameterization of the indivisible (divisible) model. The same is true when “macro” data are obtained by aggregating over time and across people. This equivalence means that the indivisibility of labor per se does not have implications for macroeconomics. Nor does indivisibility have “aggregate” normative implications.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 126.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:126
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  1. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  2. Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 1060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Gary D. Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1987. "Straight Time and Overtime in Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 455, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the U.S. during World War II," NBER Working Papers 6326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
  9. Jerry A. Hausman, 1983. "Taxes and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1973. "Labor-Force Participation Rates and the Supply of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 697-704, May-June.
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  14. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
  15. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1988. "The Inflation Tax In A Real Business Cycle Model," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - General.
  16. James J. Heckrnan, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 491-524 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "The Macroeconomic Effects of War Finance in the United States: World War II and the Korean War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 23-40, March.
  18. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 198, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  19. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  20. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "Hours and employment variation in business cycle theory," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 17, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  22. Hamilton, James D, 1988. "A Neoclassical Model of Unemployment and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 593-617, June.
  23. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
  24. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Cake Eating, Chattering, and Jumps: Existence Results for Variational Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 897-908, July.
  25. MaCurdy, Thomas, 1992. "Work Disincentive Effects of Taxes: A Reexamination of Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 243-49, May.
  26. James J. Heckman, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 136-169 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z., 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time Over the Business Cycles," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9104, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  28. Cho, J-O. & Cooley, T.F., 1988. "Employment And Hours Over The Business Cycle," Papers 88-03, Rochester, Business - General.
  29. 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.
  30. Heckman, James J, 1978. "A Partial Survey of Recent Research on the Labor Supply of Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 200-207, May.
  31. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-50, June.
  32. Hotz, V Joseph & Kydland, Finn E & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1988. "Intertemporal Preferences and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 335-60, March.
  33. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
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  35. Weiss, Yoram, 1996. "Synchronization of Work Schedules," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 157-79, February.
  36. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
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  38. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "When We Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 321-25, May.
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