January 2017

No. 10534: Estimating Labor Force Joiners and Leavers Using a Heterogeneity Augmented Two-Tier Stochastic Frontier

forthcoming in: Journal of Econometrics

We derive a non-standard unit root serial correlation formulation for intertemporal adjustments in the labor force participation rate. This leads to a tractable three-error component model, which in contrast to other models embeds heterogeneity into the error structure. Unlike in the typical iid three-error component two-tier stochastic frontier model, our equation's error components are independent but not identically distributed. This leads to a complex nonlinear likelihood function requiring identification through a two-step estimation procedure, which we estimate using Current Population Survey (CPS) data. By transforming the basic equation linking labor force participation to the working age population, this paper devises a new method which can be used to identify labor market joiners and leavers. The method's advantage is its parsimonious data requirements, especially alleviating the need for survey based longitudinal data.