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Labor Market Institutions and Informality in Transition and Latin American Countries

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  • H. Lehmann
  • A. Muravyev

Abstract

This paper analyzes, using country-level panel data from transition economies and Latin America, the impact of labor market institutions on informal economic activity. The measure of informal economic activity is taken from Schneider et al. (2010), the most comprehensive study to date. The data on institutions, which cover employment protection legislation (EPL), the tax wedge, the unemployment benefit level, unemployment benefit duration and union density, are assembled at the IZA (transition countries) and the World Bank (LAC countries). We find that a more regulated labor market (higher EPL) increases the size of the informal economy. There is also evidence that a larger tax wedge increases informality. The tax wedge elasticity of informal economy, when evaluated at the sample mean, is rather modest, around 0.1%. Our results are broadly in line with the literature, which identifies labor market regulation and the tax wedge as important drivers of informality.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp854.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp854

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References

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  1. Kerry Papps, 2010. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1017, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Hartmut Lehmann & Alexander Muravyev, 2012. "Labour market institutions and labour market performance," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 20(2), pages 235-269, 04.
  3. Cunningham, Wendy V & Maloney, William F, 2001. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's Microenterprises: An Application of Factor and Cluster Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 131-56, October.
  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. Victor Aguirregabiria & Cesar Alonso-Borrego, 2009. "Labor contracts and flexibility : evidence from a labor market reform in Spain," Economics Working Papers we091811, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  6. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2008. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," NBER Working Papers 13719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  8. Gasparini Leonardo & Leonardo Tornaroli, 2009. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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  12. Betcherman, Gordon & Daysal, N. Meltem & Pagés, Carmen, 2008. "Do Employment Subsidies Work? Evidence from Regionally Targeted Subsidies in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 3508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  14. Eichhorst, Werner & Feil, Michael & Braun, Christoph, 2008. "What have we learned? Assessing labor market institutions and indicators," IAB Discussion Paper 200822, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  15. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2007. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 3269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  17. Olivier Blanchard, 2006. "European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 5-59, 01.
  18. Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Buehn & Claudio E. Montenegro, 2010. "Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007," Working Papers wp322, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  19. Slonimczyk, Fabian, 2011. "The effect of taxation on informal employment: evidence from the Russian flat tax reform," MPRA Paper 35404, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. 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.
  21. Jaime Saavedra & Alberto Chong, 1999. "Structural reform, institutions and earnings: Evidence from the formal and informal sectors in urban Peru," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 95-116.
  22. David KUCERA & Leanne RONCOLATO, 2008. "Informal employment: Two contested policy issues," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 321-348, December.
  23. Koettl, Johannes & Weber, Michael, 2012. "Does Formal Work Pay? The Role of Labor Taxation and Social Benefit Design in the New EU Member States," IZA Discussion Papers 6313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Hartmut Lehmann & Anzelika Zaiceva, 2014. "Informal Employment in Russia: Definitions, Incidence, Determinants and Labor Market Segmentation," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 098, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  2. H. Lehmann & A. Zaiceva, 2013. "Informal Employment in Russia: Incidence, Determinants and Labor Market Segmentation," Working Papers wp903, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Lehmann, Hartmut & Zaiceva, Anzelika, 2013. "Re-defining Informal Employment and Measuring its Determinants: Evidence from Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 7844, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Pablo Lavado & Gustavo Yamada, 2013. "Fear of Labor Rigidities – The Role of Expectations in Employment Growth in Peru," Working Papers 13-17, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Dec 2013.

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