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Informal Employment and the Role of Regional Governance




The aim of this paper is to provide an explanation to why the degree of informal employment may vary substantially between different regions within a country. In Brazil, 45% of workers in the urban labor force are employed informally. The degree of informal employment, however, varies substantially across regions, with some cities having 20% and others having 80% or more of their labor force in the informal sector.The hypothesis assessed here is that the quality of local governance—or government effectiveness—affects the decisions of workers and businesses as to whether to participate in the formal or the informal sector. The empirical analysis, based on data from 5500 Brazilian municipalities, shows that informal employment is lower in regions with better governance, higher average education, and with a relatively large manufacturing sector. Endogeneity concerns are addressed as part of a series of robustness checks of the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonasson, Erik, 2009. "Informal Employment and the Role of Regional Governance," Working Papers 2009:10, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 27 Sep 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2009_010

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael King, 2012. "The Unbanked Four-Fifths: Informality and Barriers to Financial Services in Nigeria," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp411, IIIS.
    2. Mohamed Amara, 2016. "The linkages between formal and informal employment growth in Tunisia: a spatial simultaneous equations approach," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 56(1), pages 203-227, January.
    3. Quang Tran, Tuyen & Hong Nguyen, Son & Van Vu, Huong & Quoc Nguyen, Viet, 2014. "Determinants of poverty among ethnic minorities in the Northwest region, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 59144, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Oct 2014.
    4. Ana Isabel Moreno-Monroy & Frederico Ramos, 2015. "The impact of public transport expansions on informality: the case of the São Paulo Metropolitan Region," ERSA conference papers ersa15p1551, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Tran, Tuyen & Vu, Huong, 2013. "Farmland loss, nonfarm diversification and inequality: A micro-econometric analysis of household surveys in Vietnam," MPRA Paper 47596, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Tran Quang, Tuyen, 2014. "Determinants of nonfarm participation among ethnic minorities in the Northwest Mountains, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 59158, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Oct 2014.

    More about this item


    informal employment; government effectiveness; Brazil; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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