NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Substitution over Time: Another Look at Life Cycle Labor Supply

Casey B. Mulligan

NBER Working Paper No. 6585
Issued in May 1998
NBER Program(s):   PE   LS

Most studies of the intertemporal substitution of work use life cycle data and, from those studies, many have concluded that intertemporal labor substitution is unimportant for macroeconomics. This paper takes another look at life cycle data and argues that a consideration of measurement errors, taxes, on-the-job training the margins' composing aggregate labor supply over the life cycle suggests that substitution over time may be very important for macro fluctuations. The life cycle data used includes fairly standard male cross-section and panel data samples as well as a sample of women experiencing the termination of AFDC benefits as their youngest child turns 18 years old.

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