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Why do home owners work longer hours?

  • Renata Bottazzi


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Bologna)

  • Hamish Low


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Trinity College, Cambridge)

  • Matthew Wakefield


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Bologna)

This paper uses a structural model to address the question of why home-owners with large mortgage debt work longer hours than those without such debt. We consider whether this is due to lower net wealth or to capital market imperfections, including mortgage constraints that depend on current earnings and, therefore, labour supply choices. We show that the need to meet current mortgage commitments can generate the observed correlation, and this impact of current commitments arises from the institutional borrowing constraints. We also show that labour supply as a function of household debt is highly nonlinear: those with greater debt are more likely to face binding borrowing constraints and their labour supply is more variable.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W07/10.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:07/10
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  1. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2004. "The dynamics of work and debt," Working Paper Series WP-04-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Del Boca, Daniela & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2003. "Credit market constraints and labor market decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 681-703, December.
  3. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2009. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 14901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  5. Nordvik, Viggo, 2001. "A Housing Career Perspective on Risk," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 456-471, December.
  6. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Housing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 535-567.
  7. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
  9. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  10. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1993. "Consumer demand and the life-cycle allocation of household expenditures," IFS Working Papers W93/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Fortin, N.M., 1992. "Allocation Inflexibilities , Female Labor Supply and Housing Assets Accumulation: Are Women Working to Pay the Mortagage," Cahiers de recherche 9204, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  12. Ortalo-Magne, Francois & Rady, Sven, 2002. "Tenure choice and the riskiness of non-housing consumption," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 266-279, September.
  13. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  14. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
  15. Renata Bottazzi, 2004. "Labour market participation and mortgage related borrowing constraints," IFS Working Papers W04/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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