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Enforcement Matters: The Effective Regulation of Labor

Listed author(s):
  • Kanbur, Ravi
  • Ronconi, Lucas

This paper provides, to our knowledge for the first time, cross-country measures of enforcement of labor law across almost every country in the world. The distinction between de jure and de facto regulation is well understood in theory, but almost never implemented in cross-country empirical work because of lack of data. As a result, influential papers like the one by Botero et. al. (2004) published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which have shaped the policy debate by finding strong negative consequences of labor regulation on labor market outcomes, are based entirely on measures of de jure stringency of regulations. We show that this neglect of regulation enforcement matters. There is, on average, a negative correlation between the stringency of labor regulation and the intensity of its enforcement. The strong results of Botero et. al. (2004) on the consequences of labor regulation, and the hypotheses of La Porta et. al (2008) on the legal origin theory of regulation stringency, no longer hold for effective labor regulation.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 11098.

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Date of creation: Feb 2016
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11098
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  1. Lucas Ronconi, 2010. "Enforcement and Compliance with Labor Regulations in Argentina," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 719-736, July.
  2. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, November.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
  5. Feldmann, Horst, 2009. "The unemployment effects of labor regulation around the world," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 76-90, March.
  6. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Introduction to "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin American and the Caribbean"," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 1-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Galli, Rossana & Kucera, David, 2004. "Labor Standards and Informal Employment in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 809-828, May.
  8. Djankov, Simeon & Ramalho, Rita, 2009. "Employment laws in developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 3-13, March.
  9. Rita Almeida & Lucas Ronconi, 2016. "Labor Inspections in the Developing World: Stylized Facts from the Enterprise Survey," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 468-489, July.
  10. Michael J. PIORE & Andrew SCHRANK, 2008. "Toward managed flexibility: The revival of labour inspection in the Latin world," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(1), pages 1-23, March.
  11. Roberto PIRES, 2008. "Promoting sustainable compliance: Styles of labour inspection and compliance outcomes in Brazil," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(2-3), pages 199-229, June.
  12. Lucas Ronconi, 2012. "Globalization, Domestic Institutions, and Enforcement of Labor Law: Evidence from Latin America," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 89-105, January.
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