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Evaluating Alternative Representations of the Choice Sets in Models of Labour Supply

  • Ugo Colombino

    (CHILD, Department of Economics, Turin, Italy)

  • Rolf Aaberge

    (Research Department, Statistics Norway, Oslo, Norway)

  • Tom Wennemo

    (Research Department, Statistics Norway, Oslo, Norway)

During the last two decades, the discrete-choice modelling of labour supply decisions has become increasingly popular, starting with Aaberge et al. (1995) and van Soest (1995). Within the literature adopting this approach there are however two potentially important issues that are worthwhile analyzing in their implications and that up to know have not been given the attention that they might deserve. A first issue concerns the procedure by which the discrete alternative are chosen. For example Van Soest (1995) chooses (non probabilistically) a set of fixed points identical for every individual. This is by far the most widely adopted method. By contrast, Aaberge et al. (1995) adopt a sampling procedure and also assume that the choice set may differ across the households. A second issue concerns the availability of the alternatives. Most authors assume all the values of hours-of-work within some range [0, H] are equally available. At the other extreme, some authors assume only two or three alternatives (e.g. non-participation, part-time and full-time) are available for everyone. Aaberge et al. (1995) assume instead that not all the hour opportunities are equally available to everyone; they specify a probability density function of opportunities for each individual and the discrete choice set used in the estimation is built by sampling from that individual-specific density function. In this paper we explore by simulation the implications of - the procedure used to build the choice set (fixed alternatives vs sampled alternatives) - accounting vs not accounting for a different availability of alternatives. The way the choice set is represented seems to have little impact on the fitting of observed values, but a more significant and important impact on the prediction of policy effects.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Econometrics with number 0510001.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 13 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0510001
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 21
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  2. Dagsvik, John K, 1994. "Discrete and Continuous Choice, Max-Stable Processes, and Independence from Irrelevant Attributes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1179-1205, September.
  3. Tom Kornstad & Thor O. Thoresen, 1999. "Means-testing the Child Benefit," Discussion Papers 262, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  4. Zabalza, A. & Pissarides, C. & Barton, M., 1980. "Social security and the choice between full-time work, part-time work and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 245-276, October.
  5. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Mark N. Harris & Alan Duncan, 2002. "Intransigencies in the Labour Supply Choice," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n17, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Rosanna Scutella, 2003. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2003n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Gaundry, Marc J. I. & Dagenais, Marcel G., 1979. "The dogit model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 105-111, June.
  9. Daniel McFadden, 1977. "Modelling the Choice of Residential Location," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 477, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Duncan, Alan & Weeks, Melvyn, 1997. "Behavioural tax microsimulation with finite hours choices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 619-626, April.
  11. Moffitt, Robert, 1986. "The Econometrics of Piecewise-Linear Budget Constraints: A Survey and Exposition of the Maximum Likelihood Method," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(3), pages 317-28, July.
  12. James J. Heckrnan, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 491-524 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-59, December.
  14. Tim R.L. Fry & Mark N. Harris, 2002. "The DOGEV Model," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 7/02, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  15. Aaberge, Rolf & Colombino, Ugo & Strom, Steinar, 1999. "Labour Supply in Italy: An Empirical Analysis of Joint Household Decisions, with Taxes and Quantity Constraints," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 403-22, July-Aug..
  16. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm, 2004. "Do more equal slices shrink the cake? An empirical investigation of tax-transfer reform proposals in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 767-785, December.
  17. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S136-S163, Part II, .
  18. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Tom Wennemo, 2005. "Joint Labour Supply of Married Couples: Efficiency and Distribution Effects of Tax and Labour Market Reforms," Labor and Demography 0501004, EconWPA.
  19. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1988. "Nonlinear taxes and labor supply," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1213-1226, July.
  20. Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Labor supply responses and welfare effects from replacing current tax rules by a flat tax: Empirical evidence from Italy, Norway and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 595-621.
  21. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  22. Hausman, Jerry A., 1979. "The econometrics of labor supply on convex budget sets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 171-174.
  23. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
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