IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Some Stylized Facts Of The Informal Sector In Brazil In The Last Two Decades


  • Fabio Veras Soares


Two facts have characterized the evolution of the informal sector in Brazil during the last two decades: the increase in the proportion of non-registered workers and the diminishing wage gap between non-registered and registered workers. In this paper, we document both the increase of the informal sector and the fall in the wage gap in Brazil. Besides, we investigate which factors were responsible for the fall in the wage gap and how this reduction has contributed to reduce wage inequality between 1981 and 1999. Among our findings, we would highlight: 1) the coincidence between these two movements and the market-oriented reforms of the early 1990's; 2) that the fall in the formal/informal wage gap has substantially contributed to the decrease in wage inequality. After education, the fall in the wage premium due to the possession of a work-card was the main responsible for bringing down wage inequality. Why and how it happened is an open debate. We speculate that the trade liberalization process of the early 1990's and the increasing indexation of informal sector wages to the minimum wage may be behind these phenomena.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Veras Soares, 2004. "Some Stylized Facts Of The Informal Sector In Brazil In The Last Two Decades," Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 142, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:en2004:142

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gong, Xiaodong & Van Soest, Arthur & Villagomez, Elizabeth, 2004. "Mobility in the Urban Labor Market: A Panel Data Analysis for Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 1-36, October.
    2. Jere R. Behrman & Nancy Birdsall & Miguel Székely, 2003. "Economic Policy and Wage Differentials in Latin America," Working Papers 29, Center for Global Development.
    3. Green, Francis & Dickerson, Andy & Saba Arbache, Jorge, 2001. "A Picture of Wage Inequality and the Allocation of Labor Through a Period of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1923-1939, November.
    4. Maloney, William F., 1998. "The structure of labor markets in developing countries : time series evidence on competing views," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1940, The World Bank.
    5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anp:en2004:142. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rodrigo Zadra Armond). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.