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Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results

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  • Olivier Bargain

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor)

  • Kristian Orsini

    (CES - Center for Economic Studies - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain = Catholic University of Louvain)

  • Andreas Peichl

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, University of Cologne - University of Cologne, CESifo - CESifo, ISER - University of Essex)

Abstract

We suggest the first large-scale international comparison of labor supply elasticities for 17 European countries and the US, separately by gender and marital status, with measurement differences netted out by using a harmonized empirical approach and comparable data sources. We find that own-wage elasticities are relatively small and much more uniform across countries than previously considered. Nonetheless, such differences do exist, and are found not to arise from different tax-benefit systems, wage/hour level or demographic compositions across countries, suggesting genuine differences in work preferences across countries. Furthermore, three other important results for welfare analysis are consistent across countries: the extensive (participation) margin dominates the intensive (hours) margin; for singles, this leads to larger labor supply responses in low-income groups; and income elasticities are extremely small everywhere. Finally, the results for cross-wage elasticities in couples are opposed between regions, consistent with complementarity in spouses' leisure in the US versus substitution in their household production in Europe.

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  • Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," Working Papers halshs-00805736, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00805736
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    elasticity; taxation; household labor supply; Europe; US;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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