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The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data

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  • Bargain, Olivier

    ()
    (University of Aix-Marseille II)

  • Kwenda, Prudence

    ()
    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

Most emerging economies are characterized by the presence of informal salary employment, often argued to be caused by stringent labor market regulation and to result in wage penalties compared to the formal sector. The actual picture is certainly more complex. In this paper, we use rich datasets for South Africa, Brazil and Mexico that allow us to define informality in a relatively comparable fashion across countries and to estimate precisely the (conditional) wage gap between informal and formal salary workers. We account for taxes paid in formal employment as well as for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, using large (unbalanced) panels and fixed effects quantile regression. Importantly, all three countries show a similar pattern once workers' heterogeneity is accounted for: informal sector wage penalties are significant in the lower part of the distribution but tend to disappear at the top. We provide an extensive robustness analysis and discuss the policy implications of these results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4286.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Publication status: forthcoming in: Economic Development and Cultural Change
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4286

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Keywords: wage gap; informal sector; quantile regression; fixed effects model; selection; matching;

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Cited by:
  1. Nadine Levratto & Aziza Garsaa & Luc Tessier, 2013. "La Corse est-elle soluble dans le modèle méditerranéen ? Une analyse à partir d’une régression quantile sur données d’entreprises en panel entre 2004 et 2010. Is the Corsican economy a part ," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-20, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  2. Maria Manuel Campos & Mário Centeno, 2012. "Public-private wage gaps in the period prior to the adoption of the euro: an application based on longitudinal data," Working Papers w201201, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  3. Tansel, Aysit & Kan, Elif Oznur, 2012. "The formal/informal employment earnings gap: evidence from Turkey," MPRA Paper 38498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Nadine Levratto & Aziza Garsaa & Luc Tessier, 2013. "La Corse est-elle soluble dans le modèle méditerranéen ?," Working Papers hal-00842059, HAL.
  5. Arbex, Marcelo & Galvao, Antonio F. & Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis, 2010. "Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education and Informal Activities," Insper Working Papers wpe_216, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  6. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Maren M. Michaelsen, 2011. "Migration Magnet: The Role of Work Experience in Rural-Urban Wage Diff erentials in Mexico," Ruhr Economic Papers 0263, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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