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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Meissner, Thomas & Rostam-Afschar, Davud, 2017. "Learning Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 273-288.
    2. Mark Kazarosian, 1997. "Precautionary Savings-A Panel Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 241-247, May.
    3. Stephen P. Zeldes, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-298.
    4. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    5. Frank M. Fossen & Davud Rostam-Afschar, 2013. "Precautionary and Entrepreneurial Savings: New Evidence from German Households," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 528-555, August.
    6. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
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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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