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Formality, Informality, and Social Welfare

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  • Bennett, John

    ()
    (Brunel University)

Abstract

An industry is modeled in which entrepreneurs, who are heterogeneous in ability, may produce formally or informally. It is shown how the formal-informal 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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3550.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Informal Production and Labour Market Segmentation' in: Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 2011, 167 (4), 686-707
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3550

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Keywords: social welfare; informality; formality;

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References

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  1. 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.
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  9. Ahsan, Ahmad & Pages, Carmen, 2007. "Are all labor regulations equal ? Assessing the effects of job security, labor dispute, and contract labor laws in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4259, The World Bank.
  10. John Bennett & Saul Estrin, 2007. "Informality as a Stepping Stone: Entrepreneurial Entry in a Developing Economy," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-11, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  11. McKenzie, David & Sakho, Yaye Seynabou, 2007. "Does It Pay Firms to Register for Taxes? The Impact of Formality on Firm Profitability," IZA Discussion Papers 3179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  15. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
  16. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2003. "Kin Groups and Reciprocity: A Model of Credit Transactions in Ghana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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.
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  21. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Günther, Isabel & Launov, Andrey, 2012. "Informal employment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 88-98.
  2. Bennett, John, 2009. "Informal Firms in Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Stepping Stone or Consolation Prize?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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