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Wages and Informality in Developing Countries

  • Costas Meghir


    (Economics Department, Yale University)

  • Renata Narita


    (World Bank)

  • Jean-Marc Robin


    (Sciences Po and UCL)

It is often argued that informal labor markets in developing countries promote growth by reducing the impact of regulation. On the other hand informality may reduce the amount of social protection offered to workers. We extend the wage-posting framework of Burdett and Mortensen (1998) to allow heterogeneous firms to decide whether to locate in the formal or the informal sector, as well as set wages. Workers engage in both off the job and on the job search. We estimate the model using Brazilian micro data and evaluate the labor market and welfare effects of policies towards informality.

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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 1018.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1018
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  1. van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Multiple Equilibria and Minimum Wages in Labor Markets with Informational Frictions and Heterogeneous Production Technologies," IZA Discussion Papers 806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
  3. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
  4. Berg, G.J. & Ridder, G., 1993. "An empirical equilibrium search model of the labour market," Serie Research Memoranda 0039, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
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  7. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage bargaining with on-the-job search: Theory and evidence," Post-Print halshs-00754171, HAL.
  8. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van den Berg, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," Post-Print hal-00357755, HAL.
  9. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," NBER Working Papers 10540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Carlos Henrique Corseuil, 2001. "The Impact of Regulations on Brazilian Labor Market Performance," Research Department Publications 3124, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Mariano Bosch, 2006. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal labour markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19785, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3cm38535, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  13. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2010. "The formal sector wage premium and firm size," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 37-47, January.
  14. Grégory Jolivet & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00279066, HAL.
  15. Prado, Mauricio, 2011. "Government policy in the formal and informal sectors," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1120-1136.
  16. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2003. "The Response of the Informal Sector to Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 9443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jake Bradley & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2014. "Public Sector Wage Policy and Labor Market Equilibrium: A Structural Model," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/23tsoiu9ve8, Sciences Po.
  18. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
  19. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1105-1129, 07.
  20. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  21. Bosch, Mariano & Esteban-Pretel, Julen, 2012. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 270-286.
  22. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van den Berg, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model With Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," Post-Print hal-00357757, HAL.
  24. Rafael Perez Ribas & Sergei Suarez Dillon Soares, 2008. "O Atrito nas Pesquisas Longitudinais: O Caso da Pesquisa Mensal de EMPREGO (PME) do IBGE," Discussion Papers 1347, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
  25. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
  26. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  27. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  28. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1888 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Bosch, Mariano & Goñi-Pacchioni, Edwin & Maloney, William, 2012. "Trade liberalization, labor reforms and formal–informal employment dynamics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 653-667.
  30. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730.
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