On the Interpretation of Unemployment in Empirical Labour Supply Analysis


The purpose of this paper is to summarize a certain line of work on
the interpretation of unemployment in the analysis of male labour supply
behavior. Specifically, this work investigates whether the data support
the null hypothesis that individuals experiencing unemployment are on a
labour supply function, and if the data do not support this hypothesis,
how might a researcher proceed in empirical work. The motivation for
doing this is two fold. First, what unemployment represents is an
intrinsically interesting question, and may have implications beyond
labour supply analysis in terms of macroeconomic theory. Second, if
unemployed workers are constrained in the sense that they are off their
individual labour supply functions, standard labour supply estimation
may involve a fundamental misspecification of the equation. However, it
should be emphasized that the purpose of this paper is to survey one
possible approach to this problem; the paper does not attempt to provide
a general survey on labour supply estimation or on constraints in the
labour market.

Year of Publication
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In Unemployment, Search and Labour Supply, ed. Richard Blundeall and Ian Walker (Cambridge, New York and Sydney:Cambridge University Press, 1986)
Working Papers