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Are labor markets in developing countries dualistic?

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  • Maloney, William F.

Abstract

There is a long tradition of viewing as disadvantaged the roughly 40 percent of workers in developing countries who are unprotected by labor legislation and work in small"informal"firms. The author offers an alternative to traditional views of the relationship between formal and informal labor markets: For many workers, inefficiencies in present labor codes and relatively low levels of human capital (labor productivity) may make employment in the informal sector more desirable. He offers the first study of worker transitions among sectors, using detailed panel data from Mexico, and finds little evidence to support the traditional dualistic view. He shows that traditional earning differentials cannot prove or disprove segmentation in developing countries, and patterns of worker mobility do not suggest a rigid labor market -- or one segmented into formal and informal divisions. It is possible that the market is dualistic in the sense used in the industrial world, but the division between good jobs and bad jobs seems to cut across issues of formality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1941.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1941

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Related research

Keywords: Work&Working Conditions; Labor Policies; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Labor Standards; Banks&Banking Reform; Environmental Economics&Policies; Labor Standards; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Work&Working Conditions;

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. Marcouiller, Douglas & Ruiz de Castilla, Veronica & Woodruff, Christopher, 1997. "Formal Measures of the Informal-Sector Wage Gap in Mexico, El Salvador, and Peru," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 367-92, January.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1974. "Alternative Theories of Wage Determination and Unemployment in LDC'S: The Labor Turnover Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 194-227, May.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  5. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1983. "Segmented Labor Markets in LDCs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 254-59, May.
  6. Esfahani, Hadi S & Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad, 1989. "Effort Observability and Worker Productivity: Towards an Explanation of Economic Dualism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 818-36, September.
  7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  8. Levenson, Alec R. & Maloney, William F., 1998. "The informal sector, firm dynamics, and institutional participation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1988, The World Bank.
  9. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1987. "Employer Size: The Implications for Search, Training, Capital Investment, Starting Wages, and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 76-89, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bargain, Olivier & Kwenda, Prudence, 2010. "Is Informality Bad? Evidence from Brazil, Mexico and South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 4711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Barrientos, Armando, 2002. "Women, Informal Employment, and Social Protection in Latin America," General Discussion Papers 30557, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  3. 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.
  4. Daniel Mejía & carlos Esteban Posada, . "Informalidad: teoría e implicaciones de política," Borradores de Economia 455, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

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