Creator: Boerma, Job and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 746 Abstract:
We revisit the causes, welfare consequences, and policy implications of the dispersion in households' labor market outcomes using a model with uninsurable risk, incomplete asset markets, and home production. Accounting for home production amplifies welfare-based differences across households meaning that inequality is larger than we thought. Home production does not offset differences that originate in the market sector because productivity differences in the home sector are significant and the time input in home production does not covary with consumption expenditures and wages in the cross section of households. The optimal tax system should feature more progressivity taking into account home production.
Keyword: Inequality, Labor supply, Home production, and Consumption Subject (JEL): D10 - Household Behavior: General, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and D60 - Welfare Economics: General
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 551 Abstract:
This paper studies optimal taxation of earnings when the degree of tax progressivity is allowed to vary with age. The setting is an overlapping-generations model that incorporates irreversible skill investment, flexible labor supply, ex-ante heterogeneity in the disutility of work and the cost of skill acquisition, partially insurable wage risk, and a life cycle productivity profile. An analytically tractable version of the model without intertemporal trade is used to characterize and quantify the salient trade-offs in tax design. The key results are that progressivity should be U-shaped in age and that the average marginal tax rate should be increasing and concave in age. These findings are confirmed in a version of the model with borrowing and saving that we solve numerically.
Keyword: Skill investment, Labor supply, Tax progressivity, Incomplete markets, Income distribution, and Life cycle Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, D30 - Distribution: General, E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data), and H40 - Publicly Provided Goods: General
Creator: Fogli, Alessandra and Veldkamp, Laura Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 386 Abstract:
In the last century, the evolution of female labor force participation has been S-shaped: It rose slowly at first, then quickly, and has leveled off recently. Central to this dramatic rise has been entry of women with young children. We argue that this S-shaped dynamic came from generations of women learning about the relative importance of nature (endowed ability) and nurture (time spent child-rearing) for children’s outcomes. Each generation updates their parents’ beliefs by observing the children of employed women. When few women participate in the labor force, most observations are uninformative and participation rises slowly. As information accumulates and the effects of labor force participation become less uncertain, more women participate, learning accelerates and labor force participation rises faster. As beliefs converge to the truth, participation flattens out. Survey data, wage data and participation data support our mechanism and distinguish it from alternative explanations.
Keyword: Female labor force participation, Preference formation, Labor supply, Endogenous information diffusion, and S-shaped learning Subject (JEL): N32 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: 1913-, R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and Z13 - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 496 Abstract:
What shapes the optimal degree of progressivity of the tax and transfer system? On the one hand, a progressive tax system can counteract inequality in initial conditions and substitute for imperfect private insurance against idiosyncratic earnings risk. On the other hand, progressivity reduces incentives to work and to invest in skills, distortions that are especially costly when the government must finance public goods. We develop a tractable equilibrium model that features all of these trade-offs. The analytical expressions we derive for social welfare deliver a transparent understanding of how preference, technology, and market structure parameters influence the optimal degree of progressivity. A calibration for the U.S. economy indicates that endogenous skill investment, flexible labor supply, and the desire to finance government purchases play quantitatively similar roles in limiting optimal progressivity. In a version of the model where poverty constrains skill investment, optimal progressivity is close to the U.S. value. An empirical analysis on cross-country data offers support to the theory.
Keyword: Skill investment, Cross-country evidence, Partial insurance, Labor supply, Tax progressivity, Income distribution, Welfare, and Government expenditures Subject (JEL): E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data), H40 - Publicly Provided Goods: General, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, D30 - Distribution: General, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, and J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
Creator: Kleiner, Morris and Soltas, Evan J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 590 Abstract:
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for consumers, and higher wages compensate workers for 60 percent of the cost of mandated investment in occupation-specific human capital.
Keyword: Labor supply, Welfare analysis, Human capital, and Occupational licensing Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis, K31 - Labor Law, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, and J38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy