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Informal employment in transition countries: empirical evidence and research challenges

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  • H. Lehmann

Abstract

Even though informal employment is wide-spread in transition economies the literature on this phenomenon in the region is rather scarce. For policy makers it is important to know the incidence and the determinants of informal employment. In the first part of the paper we demonstrate that its incidence and to a lesser degree its determinants depend on the definition used. We then discuss studies that attempt to test for labor market segmentation in transition economies along the formal-informal divide. The presented results are inconclusive and we come to the conclusion that more work needs to be done before we can make definitive statements about whether labor markets are integrated or segmented in transition economies. Last but not least we introduce a new research area that links risk preferences and selection into labor market states. We show that if individuals have a choice, relatively risk loving workers have an increased likelihood to choose informal employment and self-employment.

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  • H. Lehmann, 2014. "Informal employment in transition countries: empirical evidence and research challenges," Working Papers wp982, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp982
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    1. Hartmut Lehmann & Alexander Muravyev & Klaus Zimmermann, 2012. "The Ukrainian longitudinal monitoring survey: towards a better understanding of labor markets in transition," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-15, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Huber & Ulugbek Rahimov, 2017. "The Self-Selection of Workers to the Formal and Informal in Transition Economies: Evidence from Tajikistan," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 67(2), pages 140-164, April.
    2. Niels-Hugo Blunch, 2015. "Bound to lose, bound to win? The financial crisis and the informal-formal sector earnings gap in Serbia," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-34, December.
    3. Hartmut Lehmann & Tiziano Razzolini & Anzelika Zaiceva, 2020. "The Great Recession and Labor Market Adjustment: Evidence from Latvia," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 62(1), pages 149-181, March.
    4. T. H. Gindling & Nadwa Mossaad & David Newhouse, 2016. "How Large are Earnings Penalties for Self-Employed and Informal Wage Workers?," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, December.
    5. Wang, Feicheng & Liang, Zhe & Lehmann, Hartmut, 2021. "Import competition and informal employment: Empirical evidence from China," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 426, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2018. "Informal employment relationships and the labor market: Is there segmentation in Ukraine?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 838-857.
    7. Altay Mussurov & Dena Sholk & G. Reza Arabsheibani, 2019. "Informal employment in Kazakhstan: a blessing in disguise?," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(2), pages 267-284, June.
    8. Maciej Berȩsewicz & Dagmara Nikulin, 2021. "Estimation of the size of informal employment based on administrative records with non‐ignorable selection mechanism," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 70(3), pages 667-690, June.
    9. Ioana Alexandra Horodnic & Colin C. Williams & Oana Țugulea & Iuliana Claudia Stoian Bobâlcă, 2022. "Exploring the Demand-Side of the Informal Economy during the COVID-19 Restrictions: Lessons from Iași, Romania," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(12), pages 1-16, June.
    10. Ahmed Elsayed & Jackline Wahba, 2019. "Political change and informality : Evidence from the Arab Spring," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 27(1), pages 31-66, January.
    11. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dietz, Barbara, 2018. "Migrants’ well-being during the global financial crisis: Economic and social predictors," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 770-787.
    12. Danquah Michael & Schotte Simone & Sen Kunal, 2021. "Informal work in sub-Saharan Africa: Dead end or stepping-stone?," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-44, January.
    13. Rayees Ahmad Sheikh & Sarthak Gaurav, 2020. "Informal Work in India: A Tale of Two Definitions," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 32(4), pages 1105-1127, September.
    14. Oksana Nezhyvenko, 2018. "Informal Employment in Ukraine and European Union Transition Countries," Erudite Ph.D Dissertations, Erudite, number ph18-03 edited by Philippe Adair, February.
    15. Ilya B. Voskoboynikov, 2020. "Structural Change, Expanding Informality and Labor Productivity Growth in Russia," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 66(2), pages 394-417, June.
    16. H. Lehmann & T. Razzolini & A. Zaiceva, 2017. "Internal Devaluation and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Latvia," Working Papers wp1095, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    17. Vladimir Otrachshenko & Olga Popova & Nargiza Alimukhamedova, 2024. "Rainfall variability and labor allocation in Uzbekistan: the role of women’s empowerment," Post-Soviet Affairs, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 119-138, March.
    18. Maciej Berk{e}sewicz & Dagmara Nikulin, 2019. "Estimation of the size of informal employment based on administrative records with non-ignorable selection mechanism," Papers 1906.10957, arXiv.org.
    19. Dagmara Nikulin & Ewa Lechman, 2021. "Shadow Economy in Poland: Results of the Survey," SpringerBriefs in Economics, in: Shadow Economy in Poland, chapter 0, pages 49-65, Springer.
    20. Gashi Ardiana & Williams Colin C., 2019. "Evaluating the Prevalence and Distribution of Unregistered Employment in Kosovo: Lessons from a 2017 Survey," South East European Journal of Economics and Business, Sciendo, vol. 14(1), pages 7-20, June.
    21. Nimoh, Nana C. & Ali, Abdilahi & Syme, Tony, 2020. "Earnings gaps, Segmentation and Competitiveness in the Ghanaian Labour Market," EconStor Preprints 214817, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • P23 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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