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Informal self-employment and macroeconomic fluctuations

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Author Info

  • Fiess, Norbert M.
  • Fugazza, Marco
  • Maloney, William F.

Abstract

Informal self-employment is a major source of employment in developing countries. Its cyclical behavior is important to our understanding of the functioning of LDC labor markets, but turns out to be surprisingly complex. We develop a flexible model with two sectors: a formal salaried (tradable) sector that may be affected by wage rigidities, and an informal (non tradable) self-employment sector faced with liquidity constraints to entry. This labor market is then embedded in a standard small economy macro model. We show that different types of shocks interact with different institutional contexts to produce distinct patterns of comovement between key variables of the model: relative salaried/self-employed incomes, relative salaried/self-employed sector sizes and the real exchange rate. Model predictions are then tested empirically for Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. We confirm episodes where the expansion of informal self-employment is consistent with the traditional segmentation views of informality. However, we also identify episodes where informal self-employment behaves "pro-cyclically"; here, informality is driven by relative demand or productivity shocks to the non tradable sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 91 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 211-226

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:91:y:2010:i:2:p:211-226

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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Keywords: Informality Labor market dynamics Self-employment Real exchange rates Co-integration;

References

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  1. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476.
  3. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  4. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  5. Rafael La Porta & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "The Unofficial Economy and Economic Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(2 (Fall)), pages 275-363.
  6. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  8. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  9. Pablo Fajnzylber & William Maloney & Gabriel Montes Rojas, 2006. "Microenterprise Dynamics in Developing Countries: How Similar are They to Those in the Industrialized World? Evidence from Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(3), pages 389-419.
  10. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Araujo, Ricardo Azevedo, 2011. "Lyapunov Stability in an Evolutionary Game Theory Model of the Labor Market," MPRA Paper 29957, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Catalina Granda-Carvajal, 2010. "The Unofficial Economy and the Business Cycle: A Test for Theories," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 573-586.
  3. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2011. "Informal Employment: Safety Net or Growth Engine?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1503-1515, September.
  4. Araujo, Ricardo Azevedo & Moreira, Helmar Nunes, 2011. "Lyapunov stability in an evolutionary game theory model of the labor market," MPRA Paper 36932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Bosch, Mariano & Esteban-Pretel, Julen, 2012. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 270-286.
  6. Saridakis, George & Marlow, Susan & Storey, David J., 2014. "Do different factors explain male and female self-employment rates?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 345-362.
  7. Bennett, John & Rablen, Matthew D., 2012. "Self-Employment, Wage Employment and Informality in a Developing Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 6406, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Report 2013 : Jobs," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11843, October.
  9. Bargain, Olivier & El Badaoui, Eliane & Kwenda, Prudence & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2012. "The Formal Sector Wage Premium and Firm Size for Self-employed Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 6604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William F., 2007. "Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Dynamics Using Markov Processes: An Application to Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 3038, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Busato, Francesco & Chiarini, Bruno & Rey, Guido M., 2012. "Equilibrium implications of fiscal policy with tax evasion: A long run perspective," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 197-214.
  12. Paolo Falco, 2013. "Does risk matter for occupational choices? Experimental evidence from an African labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  13. Araujo, Ricardo Azevedo & Loureiro, Paulo Roberto & Souza, Nathalia Almeida, 2011. "An Empirical Evaluation of an Evolutionary Game Theory Model of the Labor Market," MPRA Paper 30408, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. SENBETA, Sisay Regassa, 2013. "Informality and macroeconomic fluctuations: A small open economy New Keynesian DSGE model with dual labour markets," Working Papers 2013002, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  15. Emilio Colombo & Luisanna Onnis & Patrizio Tirelli, 2013. "Shadow economies at times of banking crises: empirics and theory," Working Papers 234, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.
  16. Bouwe R. Dijkstra, 2011. "Good and Bad Equilibria with the Informal Sector," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 167(4), pages 668-685, December.

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