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Revisiting the role of home production in life-cycle labor supply

  • R. Jason Faberman

This paper revisits the argument, posed by Rupert, Rogerson, and Wright (2000), that estimates of the intertemporal elasticity of labor supply that do not account for home production are biased downward. The author uses the American Time Use Survey, a richer and more comprehensive data source than those used previously, to replicate their analysis, but he also explores how other factors interact with household and market work hours to affect the elasticity of labor supply. An exact replication of their analysis yields an elasticity of about 0.4, somewhat larger than previously estimated. Once the author accounts for demographics and household characteristics, particularly the number of children in the household, the estimate is essentially zero. This is true even when accommodating extensive-margin labor adjustments. Households' biological inability to smooth childbearing over the life cycle and the resulting income effect on market work hours drive this result.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 10-3.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-3
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  1. Peter Rupert & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1994. "Estimating substitution elasticities in household production models," Staff Report 186, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M.J., 1993. "Consumption over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Discussion Paper 1993-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  4. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  5. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  6. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From Individual to Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based on a Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy," Macroeconomics 0307003, EconWPA.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  8. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  9. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1.
  10. William B. Peterman, 2012. "Reconciling micro and macro estimates of the Frisch labor supply elasticity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-75, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Eric French, 2004. "The Labor Supply Response to (Mismeasured but) Predictable Wage Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 602-613, May.
  12. Attanasio, Orazio P, et al, 1999. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 22-35, January.
  13. Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Substitution over Time: Another Look at Life Cycle Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 6585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
  15. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "A Theory of the Allocation of Time and Goods Over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle, pages 1-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
  17. 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.
  18. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
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