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Informal Employment in Russia: Incidence, Determinants and Labor Market Segmentation


  • H. Lehmann
  • A. Zaiceva


This paper takes stock of informal employment in Russia analyzing its incidence and determinants. Using the regular waves and an informality supplement of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) it develops several measures of informal employment and demonstrates that the incidence varies widely across the different definitions. We also show that the determinants of informal employment are roughly stable across the different measures: workers who are males, relatively young, unskilled and employed in construction and trade and related services have a higher likelihood to have an informal job. We also take a look at the issue of labor market segmentation along the informal-formal divide by estimating an informal-formal wage gap at the means and across the entire wage distributions. We find only weak evidence for labor market segmentation in Russia when estimating an informal-formal wage gap for salaried workers at the mean. The results of quantile regressions show a wage penalty in the lower half of the distribution and no gap in the upper half for informal employees. In contrast, informal self-employed and entrepreneurs have conditional mean wages that are higher than the mean wages for the formally employed. Across the entire wage distribution, however, we find a negative wage gap in the lowest quartile and a strongly positive wage gap in the highest quartile, pointing to a segmented informal sector with a lower free entry tier and an upper rationed tier.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Lehmann & A. Zaiceva, 2013. "Informal Employment in Russia: Incidence, Determinants and Labor Market Segmentation," Working Papers wp903, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp903

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
    2. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2007. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 3269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Karabchuk, Tatiana, 2012. "Informal employment in Russia: Why is it so sustainable?," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 13(2), pages 29-36.
    4. Thomas Dohmen & Melanie Khamis & Hartmut Lehmann, 2010. "Risk Attitudes and the Incidence of Informality among Workers: Evidence from a Transition Country," ESCIRRU Working Papers 22, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Lehmann, Hartmut & Muravyev, Alexander & Razzolini, Tiziano & Zaiceva, Anzelika, 2013. "The wage and non-wage costs of displacement in boom times: Evidence from Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 1184-1201.
    6. 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.
    7. H. Lehmann & A. Muravyev, 2012. "Labor Market Institutions and Informality in Transition and Latin American Countries," Working Papers wp854, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Sabine Bernab? & Marco Stampini, 2008. "Labour mobility during transition: evidence from Georgia," LICOS Discussion Papers 20608, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    9. Slonimczyk, Fabian, 2011. "The effect of taxation on informal employment: evidence from the Russian flat tax reform," MPRA Paper 35404, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. V. Gimpelson & A. Zudina., 2011. "Informal Workers in the Russian Economy: Who Are They and How Many?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aysit Tansel & Halil Ibrahim Keskin & Zeynel Abidin Ozdemir, 2015. "Is There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty in Egypt?," Working Papers 976, Economic Research Forum, revised Dec 2015.
    2. Sahoo, Bimal & Neog, Bhaskar Jyoti, 2015. "Heterogeneity and participation in Informal employment among non-cultivator workers in India," MPRA Paper 68136, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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