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Improving the Modeling of Couples' Labour Supply

  • Breunig, Robert

    ()

    (Australian National University)

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    ()

    (University of Melbourne)

  • Gong, Xiaodong

    ()

    (NATSEM, University of Canberra)

We study the work hours of Australian couples, using a neoclassical labour-supply model in which couples choose from a small, realistic set of possible wife-husband working hour combinations We introduce three improvements to this standard model. First, we allow partners' preferences about non-market time to be correlated. We also correct the estimates to account for the fact that we estimate the non-observable wage rates of individuals who do not work. Lastly, we allow each individual's preferences for non-market time to be correlated with her or his wage rate. These changes, which substantially enhance the realism of the standard, discretized labour-supply model, also have an important impact on the results. We estimate the model using HILDA data and find wage elasticities of labour supply – 0.26 for men and 0.50 for women – that are twice as large as those found without these three innovations. Using simulation methods, we then analyze the expected impact of the 2005/06 Australian tax reform. As a result of the tax cuts, we expect working hours to increase by 1.7 per cent for both men and women and household after-tax incomes to increase by approximately $60 per week on average. For families with two wage earners, each earning between $25,000 and $55,000 per year, our model predicts an after-tax increase in income of $38 after accounting for these labour supply effects – much larger than the Australian Government's own prediction of $12, which does not allow for labour supply effects.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1773.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Record, 2008, 84(267), 466-485
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1773
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  1. Guyonne Kalb, 2002. "Estimation of Labour Supply Models for Four Separate Groups in the Australian Population," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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  8. Euwals, R.W. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "Desired and Actual Labour Supply of Unmarried Men and Women in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 1996-23, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
  10. Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2002. "The Effect of a Reduced Allowance and Pension Taper Rate: Policy Simulations Using the Melbourne Institute Tax and Transfer Simulator," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  11. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2000. "Household Production, Full Consumption and the Costs of Children," IZA Discussion Papers 157, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2003. "Flattening the Effective Marginal Tax Rate Structure in Australia: Policy Simulations Using the Melbourne Institute Tax and Transfer Simulator," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 156-172.
  13. Guyonne R. Kalb, 2000. "Labour Supply and Welfare Participation in Australian Two-Adult Households: Accounting for Involuntary Unemployment and the 'Cost' of Part-time Work," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers bp-35, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
  14. Richard Blundell & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market?," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 411-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1998. "On the Taxation of Trade Within and Between Households," Papers 337, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  16. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2001. "The Effects of Flattening the Effective Marginal Rate Structure in Australia: Policy Simulations Using the Melbourne Institute Tax and Transfer Simulator," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  17. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Behavioural Microsimulation Modelling for Tax Policy Analysis in Australia: Experience and Prospects," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 8(1), pages 73-110, March.
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  19. Alan Duncan & Mark N. Harris, 2001. "Simulating the Behavioural Effects of Welfare Reforms among Sole Parents in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n06, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  20. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
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  26. Denise Doiron & Guyonne Kalb, 2002. "Demand for Childcare Services and Labour Supply in Australian Families," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(2), pages 204-213.
  27. Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew & Rosanna Scutella, 2005. "Effects of the Australian New Tax System on Income Tax and Benefits with and without Labour Supply Responses," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(2), pages 137-158, 06.
  28. Denise J. Doiron, 2004. "Welfare Reform and the Labour Supply of Lone Parents in Australia: A Natural Experiment Approach," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(249), pages 157-176, 06.
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