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Contractual Dualism, Market Power and Informality

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  • Basu, Arnab K
  • Chau, Nancy H
  • Kanbur, Ravi

Abstract

Two stylized representations are often found in the academic and policy literature on informality and formality in developing countries. The first is that the informal (or unregulated) sector is more competitive than the formal (or regulated) sector. The second is that contract enforcement is easier in the formal sector than in the informal sector, precisely because the formal sector comes under the purview of state regulation. The basic contention of this paper is that these two representations are not compatible with each other. We develop a search-theoretic model of contractual dualism in the labor market where the inability to commit to contracts in the informal sector leads to employer market power in equilibrium, while an enforced minimum wage in the formal sector provides employers with a commitment technology but which reduces their market power in equilibrium. The contributions of this paper are three-fold. It (i) provides the micro-underpinnings for endogenous determination of employer market power in the formal and informal sectors due to contractual dualism in the two sectors, (ii) offers a unified and coherent setup whereby a host of salient features of developing country labor markets can be explained together, and (iii) places the original Stiglerian prescription of the optimal (unemployment minimizing) minimum wage in the broader context of labor markets where formal job creation is costly, and where formal employment, informal employment, and unemployment co-exist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8485.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8485

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Keywords: Contractual Dualism; Employer Market Power; Informality; Wage Dualism;

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References

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  1. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv208, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
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  9. Olivier Charlot & Franck Malherbet & Cristina Terra, 2010. "Product Market Regulation, Firm Size, Unemployment and Informality in Developing Economies," Cahiers de recherche 1043, CIRPEE.
  10. Portugal, Pedro & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2002. "Disentangling the Minimum Wage Puzzle: An Analysis of Worker Accessions and Separations," IZA Discussion Papers 544, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Lemos, Sara, 2004. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage in the Formal and Informal Sectors in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 1089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2010. "Minimum Wages, Globalization, and Poverty in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 908-918, June.
  14. Boeri, Tito & Garibaldi, Pietro, 2006. "Shadow Sorting," CEPR Discussion Papers 5487, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Tito Boeri & Pietro Garibaldi, 2005. "Shadow Sorting," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005, pages 125-163 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2007. "The effects of multiple minimum wages throughout the labor market: The case of Costa Rica," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 485-511, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Lemos, Sara, 2009. "Minimum wage effects in a developing country," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 224-237, April.
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  20. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy & Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Tax Evasion, Minimum Wage Non-Compliance and Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 6228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Charlot, Olivier & Malherbet, Franck & Ulus, Mustafa, 2013. "Unemployment Compensation and the Allocation of Labor in Developing Countries," GIAM Working Papers 13-3, Galatasaray University Economic Research Center.
  3. Hazans, Mihails, 2011. "Informal workers across Europe : evidence from 30 European countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5912, The World Bank.

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