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The Dynamics of Part-Time Work

  • Rebecca M. Blank

This paper uses 14 years of data from the PSID to explore dynamic labor supply choices among adult women between full-time, part-time, or no labor market work. A variety of models indicate that past choices should be important in predicting current labor supply choices. This paper compares the effectiveness of several estimation strategies which require more or less historical information. The results indicate that past history in labor supply choices among adult women is very important in predicting current labor supply; given the lack of such data in many cases, the paper explores how much is lost when limited or no longitudinal information is available. In addition, the paper explores the substantive question of the role of part-time work in the labor market. Part-time workers are a very heterogeneous group; different part-time workers are in the midst of very different labor supply patterns. Most women use part-time work as a temporary alternative to full-time work or to being out of the labor market; few women use it as a transitional step into full-time employment. Simulations suggest the potential impact on future labor supply of mandating that low-skilled women who are out of the labor market enter part-time work.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4911.

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Date of creation: Nov 1994
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Publication status: published as (Published as "Labor Market Dynamics and Part-Time Work") Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 17, Pelachek, Solomom, ed., Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1998.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4911
Note: LS
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  1. Bover, Olympia, 1991. "Relaxing Intertemporal Separability: A Rational Habits Model of Labor Supply Estimated from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 85-100, January.
  2. Hotz, V Joseph & Kydland, Finn E & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1988. "Intertemporal Preferences and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 335-60, March.
  3. Narendranathan, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B, 1991. "Simple Methods for Testing for the Proportionality of Cause-Specific Hazards in Competing Risk Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 331-40, August.
  4. Ethel B. Jones & James E. Long, 1979. "Part-Week Work and Human Capital Investment by Married Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 579-594.
  5. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  6. Blank, Rebecca M, 1988. "Simultaneously Modeling the Supply of Weeks and Hours of Work among Female Household Heads," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 177-204, April.
  7. Mary Corcoran & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Ponza, 1983. "A Longitudinal Analysis of White Women's Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(4), pages 497-520.
  8. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
  9. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  11. James E. Long & Ethel B. Jones, 1981. "Married women in part-time employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 413-425, April.
  12. Blank, Rebecca M, 1989. "The Role of Part-Time Work in Women's Labor Market Choices over Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 295-99, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 375-90, July.
  15. 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.
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