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Formality, Informality, and Social Welfare

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  • John Bennett

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Abstract

An industry is modeled in which entrepreneurs, who are heterogeneous in ability, may produce formally or informally. It is shown how the formalinformal mix depends on the distribution of ability, product demand and various parameter values. The industry equilibrium is compared to one in which informality is prohibited. With relatively high product demand, the effect of entrepreneurs being free to choose informality is that consumer surplus and total employment are reduced, but profit is redistributed towards more able entrepreneurs. With relatively low product demand the opposite effects obtain. We also show that informality may be a built-in stabilizer or destabilizer.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University in its series CEDI Discussion Paper Series with number 08-06.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:08-06

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  1. Mariano Bosch, 2006. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal labour markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19785, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  16. Maloney, William, 2003. "Informality revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2965, The World Bank.
  17. Francis Teal, 1995. "The size and sources of economic rents in a developing country manufacturing labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 1995-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  18. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
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Cited by:
  1. John Bennett, 2010. "Informal firms in developing countries: entrepreneurial stepping stone or consolation prize?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 53-63, January.
  2. Günther, Isabel & Launov, Andrey, 2012. "Informal employment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 88-98.

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