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The Intertemporal-Substitution Hypothesis is Alive and Well ( But Hiding in the Data)

  • Kniesner, T.J.
  • Kimmel, J.

According to the intertemporal-substitution hypothesis, which underlies the typical empirical real business cycle model, cyclical fluctuations in employment and hours of work are optimizing labor-supply responses to short-run aggregate demand shifts. We demonstrate that previous empirical labor-supply research has used inappropriate data to test the intertemporal-substitution hypothesis. We estimate a fixed-effects life-cycle labor-supply model with more informative data, the triannual micro data of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. We find economy-wide wage elasticities of employment and hours worked per employee of +1.55 and +0.51, which support the intertemporal-substitution hypothesis and give econometric credibility to the labor-market specification of empirical real business cycle models.

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Paper provided by Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research in its series Papers with number 93-014.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 1993
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:indian:93-014
Contact details of provider: Postal: Indiana University, Center for Econometric Model Research, Department of Economics; Bloomington, IN 47405.
Phone: 812-855-1021
Fax: 812-855-3736
Web page: http://www.indiana.edu/~econweb/
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  1. Kennan, John, 1988. "An Econometric Analysis of Fluctuations in Aggregate Labor Supply and Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 317-33, March.
  2. Gary D. Hansen & Randall Wright, 1992. "The labor market in real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-12.
  3. Martin S. Eichenbaum & Lars Peter Hansen & Kenneth J. Singleton, 1986. "A Time Series Analysis of Representative Agent Models of Consumption andLeisure Choice Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 1981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Orley Ashenfelter, 1977. "Unemployment as Disequilibrium in a Model of Aggregate Labor Supply," Working Papers 484, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. 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.
  7. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  8. Mankiw, N Gregory & Rotemberg, Julio J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1985. "Intertemporal Substitution in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 225-51, February.
  9. Cho, J-O. & Cooley, T.F., 1988. "Employment And Hours Over The Business Cycle," Papers 88-03, Rochester, Business - General.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Sumru Altug & Robert A. Miller, 1987. "Household choices in equilibrium," Working Papers 341, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Kniesner, Thomas J & Goldsmith, Arthur H, 1987. "A Survey of Alternative Models of the Aggregate U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 1241-80, September.
  15. John Bound & Charles Brown & Greg J. Duncan & Willard L Rodgers, 1989. "Measurement Error In Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Surveys: Results From Two Validation Studies," NBER Working Papers 2884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Heckman, James, 1984. "Comments on the Ashenfelter and Kydland papers," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 209-224, January.
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