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Informal Labor Markets and Macroeconomic Fluctuations

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  • N Fiess
  • M Fugazza
  • WF Maloney

Abstract

This paper examines the adjustment of developing country labor markets to macroeconomic shocks. It models a two sector labor market: a formal salaried (tradable) sector that may or may not be affected by union or legislation induced wage rigidities, and an unregulated (nontradable) self-employment sector facing liquidity constraints to entry. This is embedded in a standard small economy macro model that permits the derivation of patterns of comovement among relative salaried/self-employed incomes, salaried/self-employed sector sizes and the real exchange rate with respect to different types of shocks in contexts with and without wage rigidities. The paper then explores time series data from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to test for cointegrating relationships corresponding to the patterns predicted by theory. We identify two types of regime. The first corresponds to periods where demand shocks to the nontradable sector offer new opportunities to (informal) entrepreneurs, the informal sector expands “procyclically,” and the exchange rate overshoots toward appreciation in the short run, or remains at its productivity determined levels. The second corresponds to periods of negative shocks to the formal salaried sector in the presence of wage rigidities where the sector plays a more traditional “buffer” role during downturns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2006_17.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2006_17

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

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References

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  1. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Hamilton, Jonathan & Thisse, Jacques-François & Zenou, Yves, 1999. "Wage Competition with Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 2141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1994. "Identification of the long-run and the short-run structure an application to the ISLM model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 7-36, July.
  5. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
  6. William F. Maloney & Jairo Nunez Mendez, 2003. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 9800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Maloney, William F., 1998. "The structure of labor markets in developing countries : time series evidence on competing views," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1940, The World Bank.
  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. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1.
  10. Fugazza, Marco & Fiess, Norbert M. & Maloney, William, 2002. "Exchange rate appreciations, labor market rigidities, and informality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2771, The World Bank.
  11. Johansen, Søren & Juselius, Katarina, 1992. "Testing structural hypotheses in a multivariate cointegration analysis of the PPP and the UIP for UK," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1-3), pages 211-244.
  12. Craig S. Hakkio & Mark Rush, 1990. "Cointegration: how short is the long run?," Research Working Paper 90-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  13. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The urban informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 4(8), pages 655-679, August.
  14. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Lai, Kon S, 1993. "Finite-Sample Sizes of Johansen's Likelihood Ration Tests for Conintegration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(3), pages 313-28, August.
  17. Henrik Hansen & Søren Johansen, 1999. "Some tests for parameter constancy in cointegrated VAR-models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 306-333.
  18. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  19. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicoletta Batini & Young-Bae Kim & Paul Levine & Emanuela Lotti, 2009. "Informal Labour and Credit Markets: A Survey," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0609, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  2. Joanna Tyrowicz & Stanisław Cichocki, 2011. "Employed unemployed? On shadow employment in transition," Empirica, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 259-281, May.
  3. Manoel Bittencourt, 2008. "Financial Development and Inequality: Brazil 1985-1994," Working Papers 86, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  4. Manoel Bittencourt, 2008. "Macroeconomic Performance and Inequality: Brazil 1983-1994," Working Papers 101, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  5. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William F., 2008. "Cyclical Movements in Unemployment and Informality in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 3514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Joanna Tyrowicz & Stanisław Cichocki, 2010. "Employed Unemployed? On Shadow Employment During Transition," Working Papers 2010-05, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  7. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
  8. Bosch, Mariano & Goni, Edwin & Maloney, William, 2007. "The determinants of rising informality in Brazil : Evidence from gross worker flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4375, The World Bank.

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