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Flexible Work Arrangements and Precautionary Behavior: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Orland, Andreas
  • Rostam-Afschar, Davud

Abstract

In the past years, work time in many industries has become increasingly flexible opening up a new channel for intertemporal substitution. To study this, we set up a two-period model with wage uncertainty. This extends the standard savings model by allowing a worker to allocate a fixed time budget between two work-shifts or to save. To test the existence of these channels, we conduct laboratory consumption/saving experiments. A novel feature of our experiments is that we tie them to a real-effort style task. In four treatments, we turn on and off the two channels for consumption smoothing: saving and time allocation. Our four main findings are: (i) subjects exercise more effort under certainty than under risk; (ii) savings are strictly positive for at least 85 percent of subjects (iii) a majority of subjects uses time allocation to smooth consumption; (iv) saving and time shifting are substitutes, though not perfect substitutes.

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  • Orland, Andreas & Rostam-Afschar, Davud, 2020. "Flexible Work Arrangements and Precautionary Behavior: Theory and Experimental Evidence," GLO Discussion Paper Series 493, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:493
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    precautionary saving; labor supply; intertemporal substitution; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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