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The Persistence of Informality: Evidence from Panel Data

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  • Akay, Alpaslan

    ()
    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Khamis, Melanie

    ()
    (Wesleyan University)

Abstract

Informality is a growing phenomenon in the developing and transition country labor market context. In particular, it is noticeable that working in an informal employment relationship is often not temporary. The degree of persistence of informality in the labor market might be due to different sources: structural state dependence due to past informality experiences and spurious state dependence due to time-invariant unobserved individual effects, which can alter the propensity of being in the informal sector independently from actual informality experiences. The purpose of our paper is to study the dynamics of informality using a genuine panel data set in the Ukrainian labor market. By estimating a dynamic panel data probit model with endogenous initial conditions, we find a highly significant degree of persistence due to previous informality experiences. This result implies that policies attempting to reduce current levels of informality may have a long-lasting effect on the labor market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6163.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Research in Labor Economics, 2012, 229 - 255
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6163

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Keywords: transition countries; unobserved heterogeneity; state dependence; informality;

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  1. Alessie, Rob & Stefan Hochguertel & Arthur van Soest, 2002. "Ownership of Stocks and Mutual Funds: A Panel Data Analysis," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 3, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Mark B. Stewart, 2007. "The interrelated dynamics of unemployment and low-wage employment," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 511-531.
  3. Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Conceptualising Informality: Regulation and Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 4186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Wiji Arulampalam & Mark B. Stewart, 2009. "Simplified Implementation of the Heckman Estimator of the Dynamic Probit Model and a Comparison with Alternative Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(5), pages 659-681, October.
  5. Arias, Omar & Khamis, Melanie, 2008. "Comparative Advantage, Segmentation and Informal Earnings: A Marginal Treatment Effects Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3916, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "International Differences in Entrepreneurship," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lern08-2, June.
  7. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2007. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 3269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  10. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Who Are the Microenterprise Owners? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman v. de Soto," IZA Discussion Papers 3511, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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