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Informal Employment in a Growing and Globalizing Low-Income Country

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  • Brian McCaig
  • Nina Pavcnik

Abstract

We document several facts about workforce transitions from the informal to the formal sector in Vietnam, a fast growing, industrializing, and low-income country. First, younger workers, particularly migrants, are more likely to work in the formal sector and stay there permanently. Second, the decline in the aggregate share of informal employment occurs through changes between and within birth cohorts. Third, younger, educated, male, and urban workers are more likely to switch to the formal sector than other workers initially in the informal sector. Poorly educated, older, female, rural workers face little prospect of formalization. Fourth, formalization coincides with occupational upgrading.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian McCaig & Nina Pavcnik, 2015. "Informal Employment in a Growing and Globalizing Low-Income Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 545-550, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:545-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151051
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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