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Labor Market Regulations and Income Inequality: Evidence for a Panel of Countries

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  • César Calderón
  • Alberto Chong

    ()

  • Rodrigo Valdés

Abstract

This paper presents evidence on the impact of labor regulations on income inequality using two recently published databases on labor institutions and outcomes (Rama and Artecona, 2002; Botero, Djankov, La Porta, López-de-Silanes and Shleifer, 2003) and different cross-section and panel data analysis techniques for a sample of 121 countries over the 1970-2000 period. When we consider the techniques most likely to be robust, we find that: (i) de jure regulations do not improve income distribution; (ii) relative compliance with existing regulations improves income distribution; (iii) de facto regulations are weakly associated with improving income inequality. This result partly reflects the fact that regulations are endogenous and, more interestingly, different regulations have quite distinct effects. In particular, we find that any redistributive effect of labor regulations may come from trade union membership, public employment and mandated benefits (proxied by maternity leave).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4375.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4375

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  1. Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1995. "The impact of labor market regulations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1418, The World Bank.
  2. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1994. "Do Labor Market Rigidities Fulfill Distributive Objectives?: Searching for the Virtues of the European Model," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 624-642, December.
  4. Beck, T.H.L. & Demirgüç-Kunt, A. & Levine, R., 2000. "A new database on financial development and structure," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125518, Tilburg University.
  5. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  6. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Patrick Van Houdt, 1997. "Do Labor Market Policies and Growth Fundamentals Matter for Income Inequality in Oecd Countries? Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 97/3, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Forteza, Alvaro & Rama, Martin, 2001. "Labor market"rigidity"and the success of economic reforms across more than one hundred countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2521, The World Bank.
  9. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Income Distribution and Growth: The Kuznets Hypothesis Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S103-17, Suppl..
  10. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Accounting for Inequality Trends: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1971-86," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 29-63, February.
  11. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  12. Nelson, Joan M, 1991. "Organized Labor, Politics, and Labor Market Flexibility in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 37-56, January.
  13. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Law, politics, and finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2585, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Herzer, Dierk, 2014. "Unions and income inequality: a heterogenous cointegration and causality analysis," Working Paper 146/2014, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  2. Töngür, Ünal & Elveren, Adem Yavuz, 2014. "Deunionization and pay inequality in OECD Countries: A panel Granger causality approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 417-425.
  3. Rafal Kierzenkowski & Isabell Koske, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 8. The Drivers of Labour Income Inequality – A Literature Review," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 931, OECD Publishing.
  4. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00112316 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 2009. "Labor Regulations, Unions, and Social Protection in Developing Countries: Market distortions or Efficient Institutions?," NBER Working Papers 14789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rémi Bazillier & Nicolas Sirven, 2006. "Les normes fondamentales du travail contribuent-elles à réduire les inégalités ?," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla06016, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  7. Isabell Koske & Jean-Marc Fournier & Isabelle Wanner, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 2. The Distribution of Labour Income," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 925, OECD Publishing.
  8. Arias, Omar & Blom, Andreas & Bosch, Mariano & Cunningham, Wendy & Fiszbein, Ariel & Lopez Acevedo, Gladys & Maloney, William & Saavedra, Jaime & Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina & Santamaria, Mauricio & Siga, 2005. "Pending issues in protection, productivity growth, and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3799, The World Bank.
  9. Bruno, Randolph Luca, 2010. "Labor Market and Globalization: A Comparison of the Latin American and the East Asian Experiences in the 1980s and 1990s," IZA Policy Papers 16, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Fournier, Jean-Marc & Koske, Isabell, 2013. "Public employment and earnings inequality: An analysis based on conditional and unconditional quantile regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 263-266.
  11. Jorge Enrique Restrepo & Andrea Tokman, 2004. "Labor Markets and Institutions: An Overview," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 304, Central Bank of Chile.

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