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Labor Market Regulations and Income Inequality: Evidence for a Panel of Countries

In: Labor Markets and Institutions

  • César Calderón

    (Banco Mundial)

  • Alberto Chong

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Rodrigo O. Valdés

    (International Monetary Fund)

This paper presents evidence on the impact of labor regulations on income inequality using two recently published databases on labor institutions and outcomes (Rama and Artecona, 2002; Botero, Djankov, La Porta, López-de-Silanes and Shleifer, 2003) and different cross-section and panel data analysis techniques for a sample of 121 countries over the 1970-2000 period. When we consider the techniques most likely to be robust, we find that: (i) de jure regulations do not improve income distribution; (ii) relative compliance with existing regulations improves income distribution; (iii) de facto regulations are weakly associated with improving income inequality. This result partly reflects the fact that regulations are endogenous and, more interestingly, different regulations have quite distinct effects. In particular, we find that any redistributive effect of labor regulations may come from trade union membership, public employment and mandated benefits (proxied by maternity leave).

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This chapter was published in: Jorge Restrepo & Andrea Tokman R. & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.) Labor Markets and Institutions, , chapter 7, pages 221-279, 2005.
This item is provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series with number v08c07pp221-279.
Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v08c07pp221-279
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  1. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Income Distribution and Growth: The Kuznets Hypothesis Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S103-17, Suppl..
  4. Nelson, Joan M, 1991. "Organized Labor, Politics, and Labor Market Flexibility in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 37-56, January.
  5. Patrick Vanhoudt, 1997. "Do Labor Market Policies and Growth Fundamentals Matter for Income Inequality in OECD Countries?: Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(3), pages 356-373, September.
  6. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Law, politics, and finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2585, The World Bank.
  7. Alvaro Forteza & Martín Rama, 2000. "Labor Market "Rigidity" and the Success of Economic Reforms Across more than One Hundred Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0600, Department of Economics - dECON.
  8. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1994. "Do Labor Market Rigidities Fulfill Distributive Objectives?: Searching for the Virtues of the European Model," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 624-642, December.
  10. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Accounting for Inequality Trends: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1971-86," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 29-63, February.
  11. Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1995. "The impact of labor market regulations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1418, The World Bank.
  12. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
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