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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
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/Email:

Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Guler, Bulent & Guvenen, Fatih & Violante, Giovanni L., 2012. "Joint-search theory: New opportunities and new frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 352-369.
  2. 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.
  3. Flinn, C. & Heckman, J., 1982. "New methods for analyzing structural models of labor force dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 115-168, January.
  4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
  5. Hanming Fang & Andrea Moro, 2010. "Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 15860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Raj Chetty, 2003. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2010. "Bargaining and Majority Rules: A Collective Search Perspective," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 189-221, 04.
  9. Bloemen, H.G., 2002. "Job search, hours restrictions and desired hours of work," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  10. van der Klaauw, Bas & van Vuuren, Aico, 2010. "Job search and academic achievement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 294-316, February.
  11. Susan Vroman & Axel Anderson & James Albrecht, 2007. "Search by Committee," 2007 Meeting Papers 351, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2005. "A general equilibrium analysis of parental leave policies," Working Paper 05-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  13. 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.
  14. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Flabbi, Luca & Moro, Andrea, 2012. "The effect of job flexibility on female labor market outcomes: Estimates from a search and bargaining model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(1), pages 81-95.
  16. Rasmus Lenz & Torben Tranæs, . "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," EPRU Working Paper Series 01-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1987. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs," NBER Working Papers 2121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  25. Dey, Matthew & Flinn, Christopher, 2008. "Household search and health insurance coverage," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 43-63, July.
  26. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2004. "Empirical Labour Search: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 4199, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2007. "Job Search, Bargaining, and Wage Dynamics," Department of Economics Working Papers 2007-03, McMaster University.
  28. Bowlus, A.J., 1995. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9504, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  29. 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.
  30. Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean-Marc Robin, 2011. "Marriage with Labor Supply," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00639313, HAL.
  31. 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.
  32. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, November.
  33. 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.
  34. Rasmus Lentz, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 37-57, January.
  35. Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean-Marc Robin, 2011. "Marriage with labor supply," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11050, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
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