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The implications of capital-skill complementarity in economies with large informal sectors

  • Pedro Amaral
  • Erwan Quintin

In most developing nations, formal workers tend to be more experienced, more educated, and earn more than informal workers. These facts are often interpreted as evidence that low-skill workers face barriers to entry into the formal sector. Yet, there exists little direct evidence that such barriers are important. This paper describes a model where significant differences arise between formal and informal workers even though labor markets are perfectly competitive. In equilibrium, the informal sector emphasizes low-skill work because informal managers have access to less outside financing, and choose to substitute low-skill labor for physical capital.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Center for Latin America Working Papers with number 0404.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddcl:0404
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  1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Courts: The Lex Mundi Project," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1951, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  3. 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.
  4. Sangeeta Pratap & Erwan Quintin, 2001. "Are labor markets segmented in Argentina? a semiparametric approach," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0701, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
  6. Loayza, Norman A., 1997. "The economics of the informal sector : a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1727, The World Bank.
  7. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
  8. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1992. "Debt constrained asset markets," Working Papers 445, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  11. Tannen, Michael B, 1991. "Labor Markets in Northeast Brazil: Does the Dual Market Model Apply?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(3), pages 567-83, April.
  12. Pradhan, M. & Van Soest, A., 1993. "Formal and Informal Sector Employment in Urban Areas of Bolivia," Papers 9311, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  13. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  14. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
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