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A Shred of Credible Evidence on the Long Run Elasticity of Labor Supply

  • Orley Ashenfelter

    (Princeton University)

  • Kirk B. Doran

    (University of Notre Dame)

  • Bruce Schaller

    (New York City Department of Transportation)

The available estimates of the wage elasticity of male labor supply in the literature have varied between -0.2 and 0.2, implying that permanent wage increases have relatively small, poorly determined effects on labor supplied. The variation in existing estimates calls for a simple, natural experiment in which men can change their hours of work, and in which wages have been exogenously and permanently changed. We introduce a panel data set of taxi drivers who choose their own hours, and who experienced two exogenous permanent fare increases instituted by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. Our preferred estimate suggests that their elasticity of labor supply is about -0.2.

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1203.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:199ashenfelter
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  1. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-30, December.
  2. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-76, April.
  3. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Blundell, Richard William & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  6. John C. Ham, 1980. "Estimation of a Labour Supply Model with Censoring Due to Unemployment and Underemployment," Working Papers 521, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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