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Social Protection Programs and Employment: The Case of Mexico's Seguro Popular Program

  • Raymundo M. Campos-Vázquez

    ()

    (Profesor-Investigador, Centro de Estudios Económicos, COLMEX. Mexico City.)

  • Melissa A. Knox

    ()

    (Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Washington. Seattle WA, USA.)

Mexico created Seguro Popular in 2002 with the goal of providing free or subsidized health insurance coverage to 47 million uninsured people by the year 2013. Hence, one unintended consequence of the program could be an increase in the size of the informal sector. The introduction of the Seguro Popular program was conducted in stages, across municipalities and time. We exploit this variation and implement a differences-in-differences approach in order to identify the causal effect of the program in formal employment outcomes. We analyze the effect of Seguro Popular using 33 large and relatively rich cities from labor force surveys conducted from 2001 to 2004. In order to measure the effect for poorer municipalities, we also use the individual-level Oportunidades dataset that covers 136 municipalities from 2002 to 2004. We find little evidence of any correlation between Seguro Popular and the decision of workers to be employed in the formal or informal sector. One possible explanation of our findings is the low enrollment of the Seguro Popular program during the period we study. We provide suggestive evidence from the 33 cities that the result holds for the 2005 to 2006 period as well. We conclude that the recent increase in informal employment in large municipalities in Mexico is due to other causes.

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File URL: http://www.economiamexicana.cide.edu/num_anteriores/XXII-2/07-EM_Raymundo_Campos.pdf
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Article provided by in its journal Economia Mexicana NUEVA EPOCA.

Volume (Year): XXII (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (July-December)
Pages: 403-448

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Handle: RePEc:emc:ecomex:v:22:y:2013:i:2:p:403-448
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  1. Gerardo Esquivel Hernández & Juan Luis Ordaz-Díaz, 2008. "¿Es la política social una causa de la informalidad en México?," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 1-32, May.
  2. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Adam Wagstaff, 2010. "Social health insurance reexamined," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 503-517.
  4. Paul A. Hagstrom, 1996. "The Food Stamp Participation and Labor Supply of Married Couples: An Empirical Analysis of Joint Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 383-403.
  5. Cally Ardington & Anne Case & Victoria Hosegood, 2007. "Labor Supply Responses To Large Social Transfers: Longitudinal Evidence From South Africa," Working Papers 1003, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  6. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  7. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
  8. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
  9. Leonardo Gasparini & Francisco Haimovich & Sergio Olivieri, 2007. "Labor Informality Effects of a Poverty-Alleviation Program," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0053, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
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