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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. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  5. 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.
  6. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. 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.
  8. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Forteza, Alvaro & Rama, Martin, 2001. "Labor market"rigidity"and the success of economic reforms across more than one hundred countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2521, The World Bank.
  11. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Law, politics, and finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2585, The World Bank.
  12. 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..
  13. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125518 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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