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The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates

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  • Shulamit Kahn
  • Kevin Lang

Abstract

Almost all labor supply models are estimated under the assumption that workers are free to choose their hours. However, theory, casual empiricism and survey data suggest that many workers are not free to vary the hours within a job. Consequently, labor supply estimates based on actual hours of work may be biased. Using Canadian data on desired hours of work, we find that using actual hours causes labor supply estimates to be biased upwards but the bias is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2647
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    1. John C. Ham, 1982. "Estimation of a Labour Supply Model with Censoring Due to Unemployment and Underemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 335-354.
    2. Lang, Kevin, 1989. "Why was there mandatory retirement?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 127-136, June.
    3. Dickens, William T & Lundberg, Shelly J, 1993. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 169-192, February.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    5. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1985. "Tied Wage-Hours Offers and the Endogeneity of Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 405-410, August.
    6. Rosen, Sherwin, 1987. "The theory of equalizing differences," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 641-692 Elsevier.
    7. Ball, Laurence, 1990. "Intertemporal Substitution and Constraints on Labor Supply: Evidence from Panel Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 706-724, October.
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