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Daily Needs, Income Targets and Labor Supply: Evidence from Kenya

Listed author(s):
  • Pascaline Dupas
  • Jonathan Robinson

Many studies suggest that daily income earners behave as if they have daily income targets. Less work has examined the determinants of the targets themselves. Using data on labor supply, shocks, and self-reported cash needs from 257 bicycle taxi drivers in Western Kenya, we provide evidence that many individuals treat their daily cash need as the day's target. We conjecture that in a physically demanding job, workers may have an incentive to quit early and so set a personal rule of "earning enough for the day's need" as an internal commitment device to provide effort. This heuristic is more common among less educated workers and has substantial welfare costs: greater variance in hours worked is associated with worse health, and we estimate that workers would earn 5% more by working a set number of hours each day (more if their wage elasticity were positive).

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19264.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19264.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19264
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  9. Kirk B. Doran, 2013. "Are Long-term Wage Elasticities of Labor Supply More Negative than Short-term Ones?," Working Papers 020, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2013.
  10. Pascaline Dupas & Sarah Green & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2014. "Challenges in Banking the Rural Poor: Evidence from Kenya's Western Province," NBER Chapters, in: African Successes, Volume III: Modernization and Development, pages 63-101 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robinson, Jonathan & Dupas, Pascaline, 2009. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt34w0w53t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  12. Tanjim Hossain & John List, 2009. "The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations," Natural Field Experiments 00468, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
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  15. Robinson, Jonathan & Yeh, Ethan, 2008. "Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Keny," MPRA Paper 7350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  17. Timothy J. Halliday, 2009. "Intra-Household Labor Supply, Migration, and Subsistence Constraints in a Risky Environment: Evidence from Rural El Salvador," Working Papers 200920, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  18. Crawford, Vincent P. & Meng, Juanjuan, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependence Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt94w5n6j9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  19. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
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  21. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-1082, June.
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  23. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "The (hidden) costs of political instability: Evidence from Kenya's 2007 election crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 314-329.
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