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Has the Government Lowered the Hours Worked? Evidence from Japan

  • Ko, Jun-Hyung

Why does the hours worked show a decreasing pattern in the postwar Japanese economy? This paper answers this question in the background of the changing pattern of government spending and tax-imposing behaviors. We construct and simulate a standard optimal growth model with the following key features: various taxes and subsidies. Our main findings are as follows. First, we quantitatively find that the increasing pattern of taxes on labor income played a crucial role in influencing the declining pattern of hours worked in Japan. Second, consumption tax and subsidy have a limited role in explaining the labor supply because they cancel each other out. Third, pension benefit may influence the retirement of the people in their sixties but has a minor effect on the hours worked. Fourth, the legal reduction in the workweek length in 1990 can explain the low level of the hours worked since 1990. Fifth, subsistence consumption can account for the slope of hours worked but cannot explain the long-run level.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 30058.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30058
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  1. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2006. "The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy," NBER Working Papers 12081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  3. Gunji, Hiroshi & Miyazaki, Kenji, 2011. "Estimates of average marginal tax rates on factor incomes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 81-106, June.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Douglas H. Joines & R.Anton Braun & Daisuke Ikeda, 2008. "The saving rate in Japan: Why it has fallen and why it will remain low," CARF F-Series CARF-F-117, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  6. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
  7. Otsu Keisuke, 2009. "A Neoclassical Analysis of the Postwar Japanese Economy," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, May.
  8. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Naohiro Yashiro & Takashi Oshio, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 239-267 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Watanabe, Katsunori & Watanabe, Takayuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2001. "Tax policy and consumer spending: evidence from Japanese fiscal experiments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 261-281, April.
  11. MIYAZAWA Kensuke, 2010. "Pension Benefit and Hours Worked," Discussion papers 10004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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