IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Labor Supply, Aggregation and the Labor Wedge

  • Jose Lopez


This paper discusses the role of household heterogeneity in a model in which idiosyncratic consumption and labor income risks manifest as a distortion to the intra-temporal optimal condition of the representative agent. Aggregation over the undistorted labor-leisure condition of each household leads to a wedge between the Marginal Rate of Substitution, between consumption and leisure, (MRS) and the Marginal Product of Labor (MPL), through the lens of the representative agent model. I use household survey data to assess the properties of this aggregation wedge. I find that it is consistent with the systematic deviation between the MRS and the MPL observed in aggregate data, the so-called "Labor Wedge", for both the long-run and the business cycles. Additionally, I explore the quantitative implications of the model assuming imperfect insurability against idiosyncratic shocks. I show that cyclical changes in the distribution of household productivity and in the degree of risk sharing lead to cyclical changes in the aggregation wedge, as if the representative agent faced higher labor taxes - or was lazier- during recessions. The model also exhibits novel dynamics for labor, relative to the benchmark RBC, because of the various labor supply elasticities induced by the individual productivities and the wealth distribution.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 737.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:737
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hanno Lustig & Yi-Li Chien, 2005. "The Market Price of Aggregate Risk and the Wealth Distribution," NBER Working Papers 11132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2007. "Heterogeneity and Aggregation: Implications for Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1939-1956, December.
  3. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2008. "The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, 05.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 35-65, 02.
  6. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0839, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Kim, Sunghyun Henry & Kollmann, Robert & Kim, Jinill, 2010. "Solving the incomplete market model with aggregate uncertainty using a perturbation method," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 50-58, January.
  8. Krusell, P & Smith Jr, A-A, 1995. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomic," RCER Working Papers 399, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
  10. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, . "Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations," GSIA Working Papers 226, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2004. "Comparing shocks and frictions in US and euro area business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0391, European Central Bank.
  12. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert Shimer, 2009. "Convergence in Macroeconomics: The Labor Wedge," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 280-97, January.
  15. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  16. Rubinstein, Mark, 1974. "An aggregation theorem for securities markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 225-244, September.
  17. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
  18. Lilia Maliar & Serguei Maliar, 2002. "The Representative Consumer In The Neoclassical Growth Model With Idiosyncratic Shocks," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-20, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  19. Den Haan, Wouter J., 2010. "Comparison of solutions to the incomplete markets model with aggregate uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 4-27, January.
  20. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  21. Bruce Preston & Mauro Roca, 2007. "Incomplete Markets, Heterogeneity and Macroeconomic Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 13260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:737. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.