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Enforcement of Labor Regulation and Informality

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  • Rita Almeida
  • Pedro Carneiro

Abstract

Enforcement of labor regulations in the formal sector may drive workers to informality because they increase the costs of formal labor. But better compliance with mandated benefits makes it attractive to be a formal employee. We show that, in locations with frequent inspections, workers pay for mandated benefits by receiving lower wages. Wage rigidity prevents downward adjustment at the bottom of the wage distribution. As a result, lower paid formal sector jobs become attractive to some informal workers, inducing them to want to move to the formal sector. (JEL J31, J63, J88, K31, O15)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.3.64
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 64-89

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:64-89

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.3.64
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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. Verhoogen, Eric A., 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 6385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jose Scheinkman & Aureo de Paula, 2007. "The Informal Sector," 2007 Meeting Papers 117, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
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  6. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
  7. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Carlos Henrique Corseuil, 2004. "The Impact of Regulations on Brazilian Labor Market Performance," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 273-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "The Response of the Informal Sector to Trade Liberalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 3874, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Severance payments in an economy with frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 477-498, June.
  11. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1985. "Wages and Employment in a Segmented Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1115-41, November.
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  14. Bourguignon, Francois, 1990. "Growth and Inequality in the Dual Model of Development: The Role of Demand Factors," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 215-28, April.
  15. Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2002. "Decent Work and the Informal Sector in Brazil," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 461, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  16. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  17. Kugler, Adriana D., 2005. "Wage-shifting effects of severance payments savings accounts in Colombia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 487-500, February.
  18. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-035, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 17 Oct 2007.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Enforcement of Labor Regulation and Informality
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-08-23 20:23:36
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Paz, Lourenço S., 2014. "The impacts of trade liberalization on informal labor markets: A theoretical and empirical evaluation of the Brazilian case," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 330-348.
  2. Margolis, David N., 2014. "By Choice and by Necessity: Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 8273, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gindling, T. H. & Mossaad, Nadwa & Trejos, Juan Diego, 2014. "The Consequences of Increased Enforcement of Legal Minimum Wages in a Developing Country: An Evaluation of the Impact of the Campaña Nacional de Salarios Mínimos in Costa Rica," IZA Discussion Papers 8253, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Poschke, Markus, 2013. "The Decision to Become an Entrepreneur and the Firm Size Distribution: A Unifying Framework for Policy Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 7757, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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