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On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes

  • John M. Abowd
  • David Card

This paper presents an empirical analysis of changes in individual earnings and hours over time. Using longitudinal data from three panel surveys,we catalogue the main features of the covariance structure of changes in earnings and hours. We then present an interpretation of these features in terms of both a life-cycle labor supply model and a fixed-wage labor contract model. Our major findings are:(1) there is a remarkable similarity in the covariance structure of earnings and hours changes across the three surveys; and (2) apart from simple measurement error, the major component of variance in earnings and hours affects earnings and hours equi-proportionately.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1832.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1832.

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Date of creation: Feb 1986
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Econometrica, vol.57, no.2, pp 411-446, March 1989.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1832
Note: LS
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  1. John Abowd & David Card, 1984. "Intertemporal Substitution in the Presence of Long Term Contracts," Working Papers 546, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  3. 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.
  4. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  5. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  6. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521299169 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "Optimal Labour Contracts under Asymmetric Information: An Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 3-35, January.
  10. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, 07.
  11. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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