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Are Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities Consistent? A Review of Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins

  • Chetty, Nadarajan
  • Weber, Andrea
  • Guren, Adam Michael
  • Day, Manoli

We evaluate whether state-of-the-art macro models featuring indivisible labor are consistent with modern quasi-experimental micro evidence by synthesizing evidence on both the intensive and extensive margins. We find that micro estimates are consistent with macro estimates of the steady-state (Hicksian) elasticities relevant for cross-country comparisons on both the extensive and intensive margins. However, micro estimates of intertemporal substitution (Frisch) elasticities are an order of magnitude smaller than the values needed to explain business cycle fluctuations in aggregate hours by preferences. The key puzzle to be resolved is why micro and macro estimates of the Frisch extensive margin elasticity are so different.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/11878970/Chetty_MicroMacro.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 11878970.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:11878970
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  1. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2008. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," NBER Working Papers 14063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans Work so Much More than Europeans?," NBER Working Papers 10316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, 05.
  6. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  7. Day Manoli & Andrea Weber & Adam Guren & Raj Chetty, 2011. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," 2011 Meeting Papers 73, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Richard Blundell & Antoine Bozio & Guy Laroque, 2011. "Labor Supply and the Extensive Margin," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 482-86, May.
  9. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
  10. Cho, Jang-Ok & Cooley, Thomas F., 1994. "Employment and hours over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 411-432, March.
  11. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  12. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
  13. Bianchi, Marco & Gudmundsson, Bj├Ârn R & Zoega, Gylfi, 2000. "Iceland's Natural Experiment in Supply-Side Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 2367, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
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