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Inferring Inequality with Home Production

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  • Job Boerma
  • Loukas Karabarbounis

Abstract

We revisit the causes, welfare consequences, and policy implications of the dispersion in households' labor market outcomes using a model with uninsurable risk, incomplete asset markets, and a home production technology. Accounting for home production amplifies welfare-based differences across households meaning that inequality is larger than we thought. Using the optimality condition that households allocate more consumption to their more productive sector, we infer that the dispersion in home productivity across households is roughly three times as large as the dispersion in their wages. There is little scope for home production to offset differences that originate in the market sector because productivity differences in the home sector are large and the time input in home production does not covary with consumption expenditures and wages in the cross section of households. We conclude that the optimal tax system should feature more progressivity taking into account home production.

Suggested Citation

  • Job Boerma & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2017. "Inferring Inequality with Home Production," NBER Working Papers 24166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24166
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marcet, Albert & Obiols-Homs, Francesc & Weil, Philippe, 2007. "Incomplete markets, labor supply and capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2621-2635, November.
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    3. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2006. "Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 326-352, April.
    4. 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, October.
    5. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "A Theory of the Allocation of Time and Goods Over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters,in: The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle, pages 1-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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