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El perfil de la informalidad laboral en Colombia


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  • Juan Carlos Guataquí Roa


  • Andrés Felipe García-Suaza


  • Mauricio Rodríguez-Acosta



We analyze the implementation process of the concept of labor informality into theColombian labor market. Taking this concept as departure point, we dissect labor market informality in Colombia, its main components and features. By using data from the 2010 GEIH-DANE household survey we contrast the informality rate and its components, as given by three different definitions: the standard Colombian one (DANE-PREALC), and a weak" and "strong" ones, being this last one closer to the ICLS-Delhi one. Our results show that despite the fact that the informality rate seems to be around the same level for the two main definitions, informality components and features do variate, mostly due to the fact that the ICLS-Delhi definition is more focused on the quality of employment, whereas the DANE-PREALC one, emphasizes payroll size as identification criteria. We argue that these specific features highly challenge the standard Colombian policy approach to reduce labor informality.**Este documento analiza el proceso de implementación del concepto de informalidad en elanálisis del mercado laboral colombiano. A la luz de dicho concepto, abordamos laevolución de la informalidad laboral en Colombia, sus principales componentes ycaracterísticas. Utilizando información de la Encuesta de Hogares GEIH-DANE 2010contrastamos la tasa de informalidad y su composición, generadas por la definición DANE-PREALC, contra dos definiciones (débil y fuerte), siendo esta última semejante a la sugerida por la CIET-Delhi. Nuestros resultados muestran que si bien la tasa deinformalidad no parece modificarse en términos de su valor, su composición internaadquiere interesantes patrones, en su mayor parte derivados del hecho de que la definición CIET-Delhi enfatiza el análisis de la informalidad en el puesto de trabajo por encima del de informalidad por tamaño de establecimiento. Estas características plantean importantes cuestionamientos a la forma en que las políticas públicas han enfrentado la informalidad laboral en Colombia."

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Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO in its series DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO with number 008216.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 28 Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:col:000092:008216

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Keywords: Employed; Informal sector; Social Security; Colombia.**Ocupados; Informalidad; Seguridad Social; Colombia;

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  1. Rocío Ribero, 2003. "Gender Dimensions Of Non-Formal Employment In Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 002762, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  3. Piore, Michael J, 1983. "Labor Market Segmentation: To What Paradigm Does It Belong?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 249-53, May.
  4. Camilo Mondragón-Vélez & Ximena Peña & Daniel Wills, 2010. "Labor Market Rigidities and Informality in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 006717, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  5. Moser, Caroline O. N., 1978. "Informal sector or petty commodity production: Dualism or dependence in urban development?," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 6(9-10), pages 1041-1064.
  6. Juan Carlos Guataquí & TABORDA, Rodrigo, 2006. "Theorical and empirical implications of the new definition of unemployment in colombia," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  7. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  8. Carmen Elisa Flórez, 2002. "The Function Of The Urban Informal Sector In Employment," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 006883, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  9. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Monica Ospina Londoño & Fabiola Saavedra-Caballero, 2013. "Social Assistance and Informality: Examining the link in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT 010933, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.


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