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Labor Market Regulations and Income Inequality: Evidence for a Panel of Countries

  • César Calderón
  • Alberto Chong

    ()

  • Rodrigo Valdés

This paper presents evidence on the impact of labor regulations on income inequality using two recently published databases on labor institutions and outcomes (Rama and Artecona, 2002; Botero, Djankov, La Porta, López-de-Silanes and Shleifer, 2003) and different cross-section and panel data analysis techniques for a sample of 121 countries over the 1970-2000 period. When we consider the techniques most likely to be robust, we find that: (i) de jure regulations do not improve income distribution; (ii) relative compliance with existing regulations improves income distribution; (iii) de facto regulations are weakly associated with improving income inequality. This result partly reflects the fact that regulations are endogenous and, more interestingly, different regulations have quite distinct effects. In particular, we find that any redistributive effect of labor regulations may come from trade union membership, public employment and mandated benefits (proxied by maternity leave).

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4375.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4375
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  1. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Nelson, Joan M, 1991. "Organized Labor, Politics, and Labor Market Flexibility in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 37-56, January.
  3. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1994. "Do Labor Market Rigidities Fulfill Distributive Objectives?: Searching for the Virtues of the European Model," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 624-642, December.
  4. Patrick Vanhoudt, 1997. "Do Labor Market Policies and Growth Fundamentals Matter for Income Inequality in OECD Countries?: Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(3), pages 356-373, September.
  5. Alvaro Forteza & Martín Rama, 2000. "Labor Market "Rigidity" and the Success of Economic Reforms Across more than One Hundred Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0600, Department of Economics - dECON.
  6. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  7. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Income Distribution and Growth: The Kuznets Hypothesis Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S103-17, Suppl..
  8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  9. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  10. Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1997. "The Impact of Labor Market Regulations," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 119-43, January.
  11. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Law, politics, and finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2585, The World Bank.
  12. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Accounting for Inequality Trends: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1971-86," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 29-63, February.
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