The Financial Labor Supply Accelerator

Date Added: Jun 2011
Format: PDF

The financial labor supply accelerator links hours worked to minimum down payments for durable goods purchases. When these constrain a household's debt, a persistent wage increase generates a liquidity shortage. This limits the income effect, so hours worked grow. The mechanism generates a positive comovement of labor supply and household debt, the strength of which depends positively on the minimum down-payment rate. Its potential macroeconomic importance comes from these labor supply fluctuations' procyclicality. This paper examines the comovement of hours worked and debt at the household level with PSID data - before and after the financial deregulation of the early 1980s which reduced effective down payments - and compares the evidence with results from model-generated data.