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A Structural Labour Supply Model with Nonparametric Preferences

  • van Soest, Arthur

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • Das, Marcel

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • Gong, Xiaodong

    ()

    (NATSEM, University of Canberra)

Nonparametric techniques are usually seen as a statistic device for data description and exploration, and not as a tool for estimating models with a richer economic structure, which are often required for policy analysis. This paper presents an example where nonparametric flexibility can be attained in a fully structural model. A structural labour supply model with a nonparametric specification of preferences is introduced, which can be used for the analysis of all sorts of (non-linear) tax and benefits changes. Moreover, the model can deal with several other problems in estimation of structural labour supply models, such as non-convex tax rules, benefits, unobserved wages of non-workers, and model coherency. The utility maximization problem is solved by discretizing the budget set and choosing the optimal leisure and income combination from a finite set of alternatives. The direct utility function is approximated with a series expansion. For a given length of the expansion, the model is estimated by smooth simulated maximum likelihood. The wage equation is estimated jointly with the labour supply model, and measurement errors in wage rates are allowed for. The model is estimated with Dutch data on labour supply of married females, for various lengths of the series expansion. Estimates of labour supply elasticities and effects of a proposed tax reform suggest that the results do not change much once the order of the series expansion is extended beyond two, even though the second order model is statistically rejected against higher order models. Monte Carlo simulations are used to show that the estimation strategy has remarkably good finite sample properties for the size of our sample. On the other hand they lead to some concern about the potential bias to measurement error in the hours variable.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 211.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2002, 107 (1-2), 345-374
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp211
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  1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  2. Tim Callan & Arthur Van Soest, 1996. "Family Labour Supply and Taxes in Ireland," Papers WP078, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
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  10. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
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  15. van Soest, A.H.O. & Woittiez, I.B. & Kapteyn, A.J., 1989. "Labour supply, income taxes and hours restrictions in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 1989-3, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  16. M. Keane & R. Mofitt, 1995. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," Working Papers 95-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  17. Kapteyn, A. & Soest, A.V. & Woittiez, I., 1989. "Labour Supply, Income Taxes And Hours Restrictions In The Netherlands," Papers 8903, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  18. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1983. "The effect of income taxation on the labor supply of married men in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 169-197, November.
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  21. Euwals, Rob & van Soest, Arthur, 1999. "Desired and actual labour supply of unmarried men and women in the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-118, March.
  22. Martijn P. Tummers & Isolde Woittiez, 1991. "A Simultaneous Wage and Labor Supply Model with Hours Restrictions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 393-423.
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  24. Moffitt, Robert, 1984. "The Estimation of a Joint Wage-Hours Labor Supply Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 550-66, October.
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