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¿Es la política social una causa de la informalidad en México?


  • Gerardo Esquivel Hernández

    () (El Colegio de México.)

  • Juan Luis Ordaz-Díaz



Levy (2008) has suggested that the expansion of non-targeted social programs could be inducing an increase in economic informality in countries like Mexico. This hypothesis, however, assumes the existence of integrated and competitive labor markets in the economy. In this work we test this assumption for the Mexican case and we find that there is a wage premium in Mexico’s formal labor market. This means that an individual earns a higher wage when she works in the formal sector of the economy than an individual with similar characteristics that works at the informal sector. We therefore conclude that Mexico’s labor market is segmented and that an increase in social programs is not causing an increase in informality in the country.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ere:journl:v:xxvii:y:2008:i:1:p:1-32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pradhan, Menno & van Soest, Arthur, 1995. "Formal and informal sector employment in urban areas of Bolivia," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 275-297, September.
    2. Gong, Xiaodong & van Soest, Arthur, 2002. "Wage differentials and mobility in the urban labour market: a panel data analysis for Mexico," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 513-529, September.
    3. Zhao, Zhong, 2008. "Sensitivity of propensity score methods to the specifications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 309-319, March.
    4. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2012. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households And Firms," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 821-838, July.
    5. Levy, Santiago, 2007. "¿Pueden los programas sociales disminuir la productividad y el crecimiento económico? Una hipótesis para México," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(295), pages 491-540, julio-sep.
    6. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
    7. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    8. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    9. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
    10. 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 367-392, January.
    11. Gasparini Leonardo & Leonardo Tornaroli, 2009. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
    12. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    13. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Raymundo M. Campos-Vázquez & Melissa A. Knox, 2013. "Social Protection Programs and Employment: The Case of Mexico's Seguro Popular Program," Economía Mexicana NUEVA ÉPOCA, , vol. 0(2), pages 403-448, July-Dece.
    2. Cardoso-Vargas, Carlos, 2015. "Potencial de mercado y desigualdad salarial, evidencia para México
      [Market potential and wage inequality, evidence for Mexico]
      ," MPRA Paper 68424, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Nov 2015.
    3. Cardoso-Vargas, Carlos, 2015. "Potencial de mercado y desigualdad salarial, evidencia para México
      [Market potential and wage inequality, evidence for Mexico]
      ," MPRA Paper 69696, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Nov 2015.
    4. Mariana Pereira-López, 2014. "Indirect Job Creation and the Informal Sector in Mexico," Working Paper Series Sobre México 2014001, Sobre México. Temas en economía.
    5. Javier Arias & Oliver Azuara & Pedro Bernal & James J. Heckman & Cajeme Villarreal, 2010. "Policies To Promote Growth and Economic Efficiency in Mexico," NBER Working Papers 16554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Azuara, Oliver & Marinescu, Ioana, 2011. "Informality and the expansion of social protection programs," MPRA Paper 35073, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:928-941 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Isidro Soloaga & Mariana Pereira, 2013. "Local Multipliers and the Informal Sector in Mexico 2000-2010," Working Papers 0513, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    informal sector; dual economy; social policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


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