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An Intergenerational Model of Wages, Hours and Earnings

  • Joseph G. Altonji
  • Thomas A. Dunn

In this paper we develop and estimate a factor model of the earnings, labor supply, and wages of young men and young women, their parents and their siblings. We estimate the model using data on matched sibling and parent-child pairs from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience. We measure the extent to which a set of unobserved parental and family factors that drive wage rates and work hours independently of wage rates lead to similarities among family members in labor market outcomes. We find strong family similarities in work hours that run along gender lines. These similarities are primarily due to preferences rather than to labor supply responses to family similarities in wages. The wage factors of the father and mother influence the wages of both sons and daughters. A `sibling' wage factor also plays an important role in wage determination. We find that intergenerational correlations in wages substantially overestimate the direct influence of fathers, and especially mothers, on wages. This is because the father's and mother's wage factors are positively correlated. The relative importance for the variance in earnings of the direct effect of wages, the labor supply response induced by wages, and effect of hours preferences varies by gender, and by age in the case of women. For all groups most of the effect of wages on earnings is direct rather than through a labor supply response.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4950.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4950.

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Date of creation: Dec 1994
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Publication status: published as Altonji, Joseph G. and Thomas A. Dunn. "An Intergenerational Model Of Wages, Hours, And Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, 2000, v35(2,Spring), 221-258.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4950
Note: LS
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  1. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
  4. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1989. "Is Schooling "Mostly in the Genes"? Nature-N urture Decomposition Using Data on Relatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1425-46, December.
  5. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1991. "Relationships Among the Family Incomes and Labor Market Outcomes of Relatives," NBER Working Papers 3724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
  9. Solomon William Polachek, 1978. "Sex differences in college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 31(4), pages 498-508, July.
  10. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1990. "The Intergenerational Correlation between Children's Adult Earnings and Their Parents' Income: Result from the Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 115-27, June.
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