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Work Costs and Nonconvex Preferences in the Estimation of Labor Supply Models

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  • Bradley T. Heim
  • Bruce D. Meyer

Abstract

We first critique the manner in which work costs have been introduced into labor supply estimation, and note the difficulty of incorporating a realistic rendering of the costs of work. We then show that, if work costs are not accounted for in the budget and time constraints in a structural labor supply model, they will be subsumed into the data generating preferences. We show that even if underlying preferences over consumption and leisure are convex, the presence of unobservable work costs can make these preferences appear nonconvex. Absent strong functional form assumptions, these work costs are not identified in data commonly used for labor supply estimation. However, we show that even if work costs cannot be separately identified, under plausible conditions, policy relevant calculations such as estimates of the effect of tax changes on labor supply and deadweight loss calculations, are not affected by the fact that estimated preferences incorporate work costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley T. Heim & Bruce D. Meyer, 2003. "Work Costs and Nonconvex Preferences in the Estimation of Labor Supply Models," NBER Working Papers 9429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9429 Note: LS PE
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    Cited by:

    1. Blundell, Richard, 2006. "Earned income tax credit policies: Impact and optimality: The Adam Smith Lecture, 2005," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 423-443, August.
    2. Olivier Bargain & Andreas Peichl, 2016. "Own-wage labor supply elasticities: variation across time and estimation methods," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, December.
    3. Blomquist, Sören & Selin, Håkan, 2010. "Hourly wage rate and taxable labor income responsiveness to changes in marginal tax rates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 878-889, December.
    4. Joseph Altonji & Jennifer Oldham, 2003. "Vacation laws and annual work hours," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 19-29.
    5. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Nicole Bosch & Miriam Gielen & Egbert Jongen & Mauro Mastrogiacomo (DNB & voorheen CPB), 2013. "A structural analysis of labour supply elasticities in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 235, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    7. Olivier Bargain, 2004. "On modeling household labor supply with taxation," DELTA Working Papers 2004-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    8. Eissa, Nada & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2008. "Evaluation of four tax reforms in the United States: Labor supply and welfare effects for single mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 795-816, April.
    9. Heim, Bradley T. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2004. "Work costs and nonconvex preferences in the estimation of labor supply models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2323-2338, September.
    10. Ramses H. Abul Naga & Christophe Kolodziejczyk & Tobias Müller, 2008. "The Redistributive Impact Of Alternative Income Maintenance Schemes: A Microsimulation Study Using Swiss Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 193-219, June.
    11. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax-Benefit Systems in Europe and the US: Between Equity and Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 3534, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yung, 2015. "Declining female labor supply elasticities in the U.S. and implications for tax policy: evidence from panel data," Working Papers 1501, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    13. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2006. "The marginal cost of public funds: Hours of work versus labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1955-1973, November.
    14. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 525, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    15. Anil Kumar, 2012. "Nonparametric estimation of the impact of taxes on female labor supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 415-439, April.
    16. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    17. Stavins, Robert & Hanemann, W. Michael & Olmstead, Sheila, 2005. "Do Consumers React to the Shape of Supply? Water Demand under Heterogeneous Price Structures," Discussion Papers dp-05-29, Resources For the Future.
    18. David W. Carter & J. Walter Milon, 2005. "Price Knowledge in Household Demand for Utility Services," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(2).
    19. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
    20. Savage, Scott James & Waldman, Donald M., 2009. "Ability, location and household demand for Internet bandwidth," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 166-174, March.
    21. Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Taylor, Lowell J., 2014. "Why do so few women work in New York (and so many in Minneapolis)? Labor supply of married women across US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-71.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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