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Misallocation, informality, and human capital: understanding the role of institutions

Author

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  • Pablo D'Erasmo
  • Herman J. Moscoso Boedo
  • Asli Senkal

Abstract

Accepted for publication, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control The aim of this paper is to quantify the role of formal-sector institutions in shaping the demand for human capital and the level of informality. We propose a firm dynamics model where firms face capital market imperfections and costs of operating in the formal sector. Formal firms have a larger set of production opportunities and the ability to employ skilled workers, but informal firms can avoid the costs of formalization. These firm-level distortions give rise to endogenous formal and informal sectors and, more importantly, affect the demand for skilled workers. The model predicts that countries with a low degree of debt enforcement and high costs of formalization are characterized by relatively lower stocks of skilled workers, larger informal sectors, low allocative efficiency, and measured TFP. Moreover, we find that the interaction between entry costs and financial frictions (as opposed to the sum of their individual effects) is the main driver of these differences. This complementarity effect derives from the introduction of skilled workers, which prevents firms from substituting labor for capital and in turn moves them closer to the financial constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo D'Erasmo & Herman J. Moscoso Boedo & Asli Senkal, 2014. "Misallocation, informality, and human capital: understanding the role of institutions," Working Papers 14-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:14-11
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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael Bergoeing & Norman V. Loayza & Facundo Piguillem, 2016. "The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: Complementary Reforms to Address Microeconomic Distortions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 268-305.
    2. Jose Asturias & Sewon Hur & Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2015. "Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth," Working Papers 15-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    3. Pablo N. D’Erasmo, 2016. "Access to Credit and the Size of the Formal Sector," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 143-199, April.
    4. Italo Lopez Garcia, 2015. "Human Capital and Labor Informality in Chile A Life-Cycle Approach," Working Papers WR-1087, RAND Corporation.
    5. Kong, Dongmin & Liu, Shasha & Xiang, Junyi, 2018. "Political promotion and labor investment efficiency," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 273-293.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Structure; Informal Sector; Productivity; Policy Distortions; Human Capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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