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Microfoundations and Macro Implications of Indivisible Labor

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  • Casey B. Mulligan

Abstract

I show that the indivisible labor' models of Diamond and Mirrlees (1978, 1986), Hansen (1985), Rogerson (1988), Christiano and Eichenbaum (1992), and many others are, when aggregated across persons with the same marginal utility of income, equivalent to the divisible labor model of Lucas and Rapping (1969); any data on aggregate hours and earnings generated by the divisible (indivisible) model can be generated by some parameterization of the indivisible (divisible) model. The same is true when macro' data is obtained by aggregating over time and across people. This equivalence means that the indivisibility of labor per se does not have implications for macroeconomics. Nor does indivisibility have aggregate' normative implications. I then build a micro model of the bunching of work in continuous time as the consequence of fixed costs and fatigue effects.' Only in a special case does the micro model has as its reduced form the indivisible labor model. In other cases, the bunching of work in time may have unique macro implications. Indivisible and bunching models of labor are shown to have implications for public finance.

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  • Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Microfoundations and Macro Implications of Indivisible Labor," NBER Working Papers 7116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7116
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    Cited by:

    1. Mulligan Casey B, 2001. "Aggregate Implications of Indivisible Labor," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-35, April.
    2. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Substition over Time: Another Look at Life-Cycle Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 75-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Antonio García Sánchez & María del Mar Vázquez Méndez, 2005. "The timing of work in a general equilibrium model with shiftwork," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 29(1), pages 149-179, January.
    4. Parantap Basu & Laura Marsiliani & Thomas I. Renström, 2004. "Optimal Dynamic Taxation with Indivisible Labour," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(s1), pages 34-54, September.
    5. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2005. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours Among U.S. Men, 1979-2004," NBER Working Papers 11895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John C. Ham & Kevin T. Reilly, 2002. "Testing Intertemporal Substitution, Implicit Contracts, and Hours Restriction Models of the Labor Market Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 905-927, September.
    7. Casey B. Mulligan, 2000. "Can Monopoly Unionism Explain Publicly Induced Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 7680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Basu, Parantap & Renström, Thomas I, 2002. "When to Tax Labour?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3456, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Basu, Parantap & Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2004. "Optimal Dynamic Taxation with Indivisible Labour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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