IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

El perfil de la informalidad laboral en Colombia


  • Juan Carlos Guataquí Roa


  • Andrés Felipe García-Suaza


  • Mauricio Rodríguez-Acosta



We analyze the implementation process of the concept of labor informality into theColombian labor market. Taking this concept as departure point, we dissect labor market informality in Colombia, its main components and features. By using data from the 2010 GEIH-DANE household survey we contrast the informality rate and its components, as given by three different definitions: the standard Colombian one (DANE-PREALC), and a weak" and "strong" ones, being this last one closer to the ICLS-Delhi one. Our results show that despite the fact that the informality rate seems to be around the same level for the two main definitions, informality components and features do variate, mostly due to the fact that the ICLS-Delhi definition is more focused on the quality of employment, whereas the DANE-PREALC one, emphasizes payroll size as identification criteria. We argue that these specific features highly challenge the standard Colombian policy approach to reduce labor informality.**Este documento analiza el proceso de implementación del concepto de informalidad en elanálisis del mercado laboral colombiano. A la luz de dicho concepto, abordamos laevolución de la informalidad laboral en Colombia, sus principales componentes ycaracterísticas. Utilizando información de la Encuesta de Hogares GEIH-DANE 2010contrastamos la tasa de informalidad y su composición, generadas por la definición DANE-PREALC, contra dos definiciones (débil y fuerte), siendo esta última semejante a la sugerida por la CIET-Delhi. Nuestros resultados muestran que si bien la tasa deinformalidad no parece modificarse en términos de su valor, su composición internaadquiere interesantes patrones, en su mayor parte derivados del hecho de que la definición CIET-Delhi enfatiza el análisis de la informalidad en el puesto de trabajo por encima del de informalidad por tamaño de establecimiento. Estas características plantean importantes cuestionamientos a la forma en que las políticas públicas han enfrentado la informalidad laboral en Colombia."

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Guataquí Roa & Andrés Felipe García-Suaza & Mauricio Rodríguez-Acosta, 2011. "El perfil de la informalidad laboral en Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 008216, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:008216

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen Elisa Flórez, 2002. "THE FUNCTION OF THE URBAN INFORMAL SECTOR IN EMPLOYMENT: Evidence from Colombia 1984-2000," Documentos CEDE 003595, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    2. Moser, Caroline O. N., 1978. "Informal sector or petty commodity production: Dualism or dependence in urban development?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 6(9-10), pages 1041-1064.
    3. Juan Carlos Guataquí & TABORDA, Rodrigo, 2006. "Theorical and empirical implications of the new definition of unemployment in colombia," Revista de Economía del Rosario, Universidad del Rosario, June.
    4. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.),Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204, Elsevier.
    5. Camilo Mondragón-Vélez & Ximena Peña & Daniel Wills, 2010. "Labor Market Rigidities and Informality in Colombia," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2010), pages 65-101, August.
    6. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.),Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102, Elsevier.
    7. Rocío Ribero, 2003. "Gender Dimensions Of Non-Formal Employment In Colombia," Documentos CEDE 002762, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    8. Carmen Elisa Flórez, 2002. "The Function Of The Urban Informal Sector In Employment," Documentos CEDE 006883, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    9. Piore, Michael J, 1983. "Labor Market Segmentation: To What Paradigm Does It Belong?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 249-253, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. María Aguilera-Díaz & Ali Miguel Arrieta-Arrieta & Andrés Fernando Carreño-Castellar & Camila Uribe-Villa, 2015. "Caracterización del comercio en Cartagena y Bolívar, 2000-2014," Documentos de Trabajo Sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 014491, Banco de la República - Economía Regional.
    2. Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte & Gerson Javier Pérez-Valbuena, 2015. "Informalidad laboral y calidad del empleo en la Región Pacífica colombiana," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 233, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. Monica Ospina Londoño & Fabiola Saavedra-Caballero, 2013. "Social Assistance and Informality: Examining the link in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo CIEF 010933, Universidad EAFIT.

    More about this item


    Employed; Informal sector; Social Security; Colombia.**Ocupados; Informalidad; Seguridad Social; Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions


    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:col:000092:008216. 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: (Facultad de Economía). 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.