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Exploring Trends in Labor Informality in Latin America, 1990-2010

Listed author(s):
  • Leopoldo Tornarolli

    (CEDLAS, FCE - UNLP)

  • Diego Battistón

    (CEDLAS, FCE - UNLP)

  • Leonardo Gasparini

    (CEDLAS, FCE - UNLP)

  • Pablo Gluzmann

    (CEDLAS, FCE - UNLP)

Labor informality is a pervasive characteristic of the labor markets in Latin America, and a central issue in the public policy debate. This paper discusses the concept of labor informality and implements alternative definitions using microdata from around 300 national household surveys in all Latin American countries. The analysis covers two decades: while labor informality, defined as lack of social protection related to employment, remained with few changes in the 1990s, there is a discernible downward pattern during the 2000s in most countries. These movements reveal a counter-cyclical behavior of labor informality, that may be linked to segmentation in the labor market.

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File URL: http://cedlas.econo.unlp.edu.ar/archivos_upload/doc_cedlas159.pdf
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Paper provided by CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its series CEDLAS, Working Papers with number 0159.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0159
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Calle 48 No555 - La Plata (1900)

Phone: 21- 1466
Fax: 54-21-25-9536
Web page: http://cedlas.econo.unlp.edu.ar/

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  1. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
  2. Pradhan, Menno & van Soest, Arthur, 1995. "Formal and informal sector employment in urban areas of Bolivia," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 275-297, September.
  3. Fugazza, Marco & Fiess, Norbert M. & Maloney, William, 2002. "Exchange rate appreciations, labor market rigidities, and informality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2771, The World Bank.
  4. Portes, Alejandro & Blitzer, Silvia & Curtis, John, 1986. "The urban informal sector in Uruguay: Its internal structure, characteristics, and effects," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 727-741, June.
  5. Habib, Bilal & Narayan, Ambar & Olivieri, Sergio & Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2010. "Assessing poverty and distributional impacts of the global crisis in the Philippines : a microsimulation approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5286, The World Bank.
  6. Jaime Saavedra & Alberto Chong, 1999. "Structural reform, institutions and earnings: Evidence from the formal and informal sectors in urban Peru," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 95-116.
  7. Gasparini Leonardo & Leonardo Tornaroli, 2009. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
  8. Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Conceptualising Informality: Regulation and Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 4186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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