Individual and Aggregate Labor Supply in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Intensive and Extensive Margins
We study business cycle fluctuations in heterogeneous-agent general equilibrium models that feature both intensive and extensive margins of labor supply. A nonconvexity in the mapping between time devoted to work and labor services combined with idiosyncratic shocks generates operative extensive and intensive margins. We consider calibrated versions of this model that differ in the value of a key preference parameter for labor supply and the extent of heterogeneity. The model is able to capture the salient features of the empirical distribution of hours worked, including how individuals transit within this distribution. We then study how the various specifications influence labor supply responses to aggregate technology shocks. We ask to what extent our predictions for business cycle fluctuations are affected by abstracting from the intensive margin and instead assuming that adjustment occurs only along the extensive margin. We find that abstracting from intensive margin adjustment can have large effects on the volatility of aggregate hours even if fluctuations along the intensive margin are small.
We thank Richard Blundell for comments as well as conference participants at Yonsei University, Institute for Fiscal Studies and the SED Cyprus meeting. This work is supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2014S1A5A2A01011108). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
I have received financial support in excess of $10,000 over the last three years from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Yonsei University (South Korea) and the World Bank.