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Trade Reform and Informal Wages

Listed author(s):
  • Sugata Marjit
  • Saibal Kar
  • Hamid Beladi

When trade reform contracts protected formal sectors in developing countries and the formal workers move to the informal sector for employment, does that reduce informal wages? Using a 2 × 2 Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson (HOS) structure with formal-informal production organization for the same commodity, we show that a tariff cut in the import-competing sector increases both informal wage and employment under very reasonable assumptions. An increase in the price of the export commodity will also increase informal wages, although aggregate informal employment unambiguously falls even if the informal export sector is labor intensive. Furthermore, the formal-informal segmentation of each sector opens up an interesting, hitherto unexplored, possibility that the informal export sector may contract despite a price increase in this sector. Change in the overall size of the export sector is also ambiguous and conditional on the relative strengths of changes in these two segments. Copyright © 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 313-320

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:11:y:2007:i:2:p:313-320
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