IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Intransigencies in the Labour Supply Choice


  • Mark N. Harris

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Alan Duncan

    (School of Economics, The University of Nottingham)


There have been significant recent advances in the estimation of labour supply models. Here the hours continuum is split into a number of discrete options and the preferred choice obtained as the solution to a constrained utility maximisation problem. However, the underlying probabilities of an individual being in a particular hours state, are assumed to be those given by standard Logit-type ones. As is well known, such a specification embodies the underlying Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) property, which is likely to be violated in a model of labour supply choices. Moreover, if such models are used in microsimulation, they implicitly assume that individuals are able to change their observed hours state at the margin following a policy reform. This paper suggests an alternative general (non-IIA) specification for these probabilities, which can additionally incorporate the fact that: individuals may be captive to certain choices (for example, due to institutional reasons). Moreover, this model has the benefit that when used for microsimulation, the reform has to work harder to coax individuals out of the captive hours states. The results suggest that, for sole parents, the Logit model is misspecified and there is a significant amount of captivity, most notably to full-time employment hours. The effect of such captivity on microsimulation is illustrated by considering a range of actual and hypothetical policy reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark N. Harris & Alan Duncan, 2002. "Intransigencies in the Labour Supply Choice," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n17, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2002n17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hausman, Jerry & Ruud, Paul, 1984. "Family Labor Supply with Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 242-248, May.
    2. Hausman, Jerry A, 1985. "The Econometrics of Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1255-1282, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eme:ceapzz:s0573-855520140000293006 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    3. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Olivier Bargain, 2004. "On modeling household labor supply with taxation," DELTA Working Papers 2004-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    5. R. Aaberge & U. Colombino & T. Wennemo, 2009. "Evaluating Alternative Representations Of The Choice Sets In Models Of Labor Supply," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 586-612, July.
    6. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 697-734, December.
    7. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 525, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Veronica Amarante & Rodrigo Arim & Gioia de Melo & Andrea Vigorito, 2010. "Family Allowances and Child School Attendance: An ex-ante Evaluation of Alternative Schemes in Uruguay," Working Papers PMMA 2010-07, PEP-PMMA.
    9. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis,in: Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221 Emerald Publishing Ltd.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2002n17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Abbey Treloar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.