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Household Search or Individual Search: Does It Matter? Evidence from Lifetime Inequality Estimates

We develop and estimate an household search model to evaluate if ignoring that labor market decisions are taken at the household level - as usually done in search models of the labor market - has relevant empirical consequences. We evaluate the impact of this potential mispecification error by comparing parameters estimates under different specifications, by running a specification test, and by generating simulations to compute cross-sectional and lifetime inequality measures. We build on previous literature (Dey and Flinn (2008) and Guler, Guvenen and Violante (2011)) to propose a novel identification strategy of the risk aversion parameters. We find that ignoring the household as the actual unit of decision-making leads to estimate gender differentials in average wage offers two and a half times larger and to erroneously conclude that women experience higher inequality in wages and earnings than men.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~12-12-03.

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Date of creation: 03 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~12-12-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Parental Leave Policies," Working Papers tecipa-385, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Hans G. Bloemen, 2008. "Job Search, Hours Restrictions, and Desired Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 137-179.
  3. Rendon Sílvio, 2006. "Job Search And Asset Accumulation Under Borrowing Constraints ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 233-263, 02.
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  5. Jeremy Lise, 2011. "On-the-Job Search and Precautionary Savings: Theory and Empirics of Earnings and Wealth Inequality," IFS Working Papers W11/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  7. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-76, April.
  8. Bulent Guler & Fatih Guvenen & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Joint-search theory: new opportunities and new frictions," Staff Report 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Rasmus Lentz & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 467-490, July.
  10. Raj Chetty, 2003. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Christopher J. Flinn, 2002. "Labour Market Structure and Inequality: A Comparison of Italy and the U.S," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 611-645.
  12. Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2010. "Job Search, Bargaining, and Wage Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 595-631, 07.
  13. Hanming Fang & Andrea Moro, 2010. "Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 15860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Albrecht, James & Anderson, Axel Z. & Vroman, Susan, 2007. "Search by Committee," IZA Discussion Papers 3137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean-Marc Robin, 2011. "Marriage with Labor Supply," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  16. van der Klaauw, Bas & van Vuuren, Aico, 2010. "Job search and academic achievement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 294-316, February.
  17. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
  18. Zvi Eckstein & Éva Nagypál, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. earnings inequality: 1961?2002," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Dec, pages 10-29.
  19. Flabbi, Luca & Moro, Andrea, 2010. "The Effect of Job Flexibility on Female Labor Market Outcomes: Estimates from a Search and Bargaining Model," IZA Discussion Papers 4829, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Blau, David M, 1991. "Search for Nonwage Job Characteristics: A Test of the Reservation Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 186-205, April.
  21. Rasmus Lentz, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," CAM Working Papers 2004-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  22. Luca Flabbi, 2004. "Gender Discrimination Estimation in a Search Model with Matching and Bargaining," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-08, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  23. Matthew Dey & Christopher Flinn, 2007. "Household Search and Health Insurance Coverage," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 56, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  24. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, May.
  26. Bowlus, Audra J, 1997. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 625-57, October.
  27. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  28. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  30. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "Fertility Decisions and Gender Differences in Labor Turnover, Employment, and Wages," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 856-891, October.
  31. Flabbi, Luca & Leonardi, Marco, 2010. "Sources of earnings inequality: Estimates from an on-the-job search model of the US labor market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 832-854, August.
  32. Philippe Jehiel & Oliver Compte, 2007. "Bargaining and Majority Rules: A Collective Search Perspective," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000131, UCLA Department of Economics.
  33. Tom Ahn & Peter Arcidiacono & Walter Wessels, 2011. "The Distributional Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases When Both Labor Supply and Labor Demand Are Endogenous," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 12-23, January.
  34. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
  35. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  36. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  37. Audra J. Bowlus & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Twenty years of rising inequality in US lifetime labor values," Research Unit Working Papers 0105, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
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