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Social Policies and Labor Market Outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Review of the Existing Evidence

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  • Mariano Bosch
  • Marco Manacorda

Abstract

Latin America and the Caribbean have become in the last decade or so a formidable laboratory for the design and implementation of innovative social policies. In the face of an unprecedented surge in the number of non-contributory social assistance benefit programs in the region, there is a renewed interest - among policy makers and academics alike - as to whether such programs have "perverse" labor market effects, in particular discouraging participation and formal employment. After having revisited the theoretical arguments behind this concern, this paper reviews the existing quasi experimental empirical evidence for the region. Our reading of the evidence suggests that, consistent with zero income elasticity of leisure among the poor, social assistance has no large significant effects on participation and overall employment, other than possibly among the elderly. Some particular policies are, however, generating a substitution away from formal to informal employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariano Bosch & Marco Manacorda, 2012. "Social Policies and Labor Market Outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Review of the Existing Evidence," CEP Occasional Papers 32, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepops:32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcelo Bergolo & Guillermo Cruces, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs. Evidence from an employment-based benefit extension," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0161, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    2. Rodrigo Ceni, 2014. "Social security schemes and labor supply in the formal and informal sectors," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 14-12, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    3. Bergolo, Marcelo & Galván, Estefanía, 2018. "Intra-household Behavioral Responses to Cash Transfer Programs. Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 100-118.
    4. Bergolo, Marcelo & Cruces, Guillermo, 2016. "The Anatomy of Behavioral Responses to Social Assistance When Informal Employment Is High," IZA Discussion Papers 10197, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooei, 2017. "Cash Transfers and Labor Supply: Evidence from A Large-Scale Program in Iran," Working Papers 1090, Economic Research Forum, revised 05 Apr 2017.
    6. Garganta, Santiago & Gasparini, Leonardo, 2015. "The impact of a social program on labor informality: The case of AUH in Argentina," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 99-110.
    7. Bergolo, Marcelo & Cruces, Guillermo, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 211-228.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social policies; labor markets; Latin America; Caribbean;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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