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Household vs. Personal Accounts of the U.S. Labor Market, 1965-2000

  • Casey B. Mulligan
  • Yona Rubinstein

The empirical labor supply literature includes some simple aggregate studies, and some individual-level studies explicitly accounting for heterogeneity and the discrete choice, but sometimes leaving open the ultimately aggregate questions that motivated the study. As a middle ground, we construct household-based measures of labor supply by within-household aggregating answers to the usual weeks and hours worked questionnaire items. Household (H) measures are substantially different than the more familiar person (P) measures: H employment rates are relatively higher, with little trend, and relatively little fluctuations. From the H point of view, essentially all aggregate hours trends and fluctuations can be attributed to changes on the intensive' margin and not the extensive' margin a characterization that is opposite of that derived from P measures. The cross-H distribution of hours is richer, and less spiked, than the cross-P distribution. Labor supply is more wage elastic from an H point of view.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10320.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10320
Note: LS PE
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  19. Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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