Explaining declining labor supply responses of married females

Although the consensus is that the labor supply of married females is more responsive than that of married males, it has also been reported that responses converge. This is also what we find for Norway when estimates are obtained by repeated estimations of a structural discrete choice labor supply model. The gross wage elasticity of married females falls from around 0.7 in 1997 to below 0.3 in 2019. The contribution of the present paper is to discuss factors behind this decline in responsiveness by employing a simulation procedure based on a structural labor supply model. We discuss effects of the following four categories of explanations: socioeconomic and demographic changes, wage growth, tax policy change, and preference shifts/changed opportunities in the labor market. We find that the wage growth contributes most to the decline in responsiveness.

Zhiyang Jia, Thor O. Thoresen & Trine E. Vattø