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

  • 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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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
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19264
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  6. 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.
  7. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1138-71, June.
  8. Ned Augenblick & Muriel Niederle & Charles Sprenger, 2013. "Working Over Time: Dynamic Inconsistency in Real Effort Tasks," NBER Working Papers 18734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. 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.
  12. Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Economics Working Papers E00-279, University of California at Berkeley.
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  14. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
  15. Vincent P. Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2011. "New York City Cab Drivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1912-32, August.
  16. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
  17. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2620, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Colin Camerer & Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-441.
  19. Pascaline Dupas & Sarah Green & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Challenges in Banking the Rural Poor: Evidence from Kenya's Western Province," NBER Working Papers 17851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
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