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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
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  1. Albrecht, James & Anderson, Axel & Vroman, Susan, 2010. "Search by committee," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1386-1407, July.
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  8. Rendón, Silvio, 2002. "Job search and asset accumulation under borrowing constraints," UC3M Working papers. Economics we025219, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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  10. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
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  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Luca Flabbi, 2010. "Gender Discrimination Estimation In A Search Model With Matching And Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 745-783, 08.
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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  20. Rasmus Lentz & Torben Tranaes, 2001. "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," CESifo Working Paper Series 461, CESifo Group Munich.
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  22. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality and Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640.
  23. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," NBER Working Papers 15483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2010. "Bargaining and Majority Rules: A collective search Perspective," Post-Print halshs-00754459, HAL.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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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  30. 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.
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  33. 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.
  34. 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.
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  36. 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.
  37. van der Klaauw, Bas & van Vuuren, Aico, 2010. "Job search and academic achievement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 294-316, February.
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