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Tax policies, informality, and real wage rigidities


  • Andres García-Suaza
  • Fernando Jaramillo
  • Marlon Salazar


Developing countries have a vast informal sector generally associated with low productivity levels. The response of informal employment to tax policies might depend on labor market rigidities. This paper proposes a theoretical framework consisting of a search and matching model with segmentation in the labor market to understand how tax policies and enforcement interact to determine the size of the formal sector. The analytical results show that decreasing payroll taxes increases formal employment demand, and enforcement expenditure decreases informal employment offers. The model suggests that a tax policy combination leads to a significant impact on informality reduction. Moreover, the magnitude of the effect of tax policies depends on real wage rigidities, i.e., when the economy faces high real wage rigidities, the tax policies have a higher effect on informality reduction

Suggested Citation

  • Andres García-Suaza & Fernando Jaramillo & Marlon Salazar, 2023. "Tax policies, informality, and real wage rigidities," Documentos de Trabajo 20744, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:020744

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Informality; payroll taxes; fiscal policy; enforcement; search frictions; shirking; developing countries.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy; Modern Monetary Theory
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


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