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Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality? Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data

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  • Carmen Pages

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  • Lucia Madrigal

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Abstract

The formality status of a job is the most widely used indicator of job quality in developing countries. However, a number of studies argue that, at least for some workers, the informality status may be driven by choice rather than exclusion. This paper uses job satisfaction data from three low-income countries (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) to assess whether informal jobs are less valued than formal jobs. The paper finds substantial differences in job satisfaction within different types of informal jobs. More importantly, the results suggest that across different definitions, informality does not yield the same ranking of job quality as self-reported measures of job satisfaction. This correspondence varies across countries, and it seems to be lower for less-skilled workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen Pages & Lucia Madrigal, 2008. "Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality? Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data," Research Department Publications 4603, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4603
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Florencia Lopez Boo & Lucia Madrigal & Carmen Pages, 2010. "Part-Time Work, Gender and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from a Developing Country," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(9), pages 1543-1571.
    2. Aterido, Reyes & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Pages, Carmen, 2011. "Does expanding health insurance beyond formal-sector workers encourage informality ? measuring the impact of Mexico's Seguro Popular," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5785, The World Bank.
    3. Valentina Calderón & Ioana Marinescu, 2011. "The Impact of Colombia's Pension and Health Insurance Systems on Informality," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3831, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Roushdy, Rania & Selwaness, Irène, 2017. "Who Is Covered and Who Underreports: An Empirical Analysis of Access to Social Insurance on the Egyptian Labor Market," GLO Discussion Paper Series 29, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Madrigal, Lucia & Pagés, Carmen & Suaya, Agustina, 2016. "The Value of Social Security: Are Formal Jobs Better?," IZA Discussion Papers 9866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Isabelle Bensidoun & Ali Souag, 2013. "Emploi informel en Algérie : caractéristiques et raisons d'être," Working Papers halshs-00965775, HAL.
    7. Falco, Paolo & Maloney, William F. & Rijkers, Bob & Sarrias, Mauricio, 2015. "Heterogeneity in subjective wellbeing: An application to occupational allocation in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 137-153.
    8. Valentina Calderón & Ioana Marinescu, 2011. "The Impact of Colombia's Pension and Health Insurance Systems on Informality," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 62338, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.
    10. Rita Almeida & Pedro Carneiro, Renata Narita, 2013. "Producing Higher Quality Jobs: Enforcement of Mandated Benefits across Brazilian Cities between 1996-2007," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2013_22, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    11. Anna Zudina, 2013. "Do informal workers make an underclass? An analysis of subjective social status," HSE Working papers WP BRP 24/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    12. Hamadi Matoussi & Faten Zoghlami, 2007. "Momentum in Emerging Markets: Investigation of Overconfidence and Cognitive BIAS Factors," Working Papers 717, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Jan 2007.
    13. Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Teresa Garcia-Muñoz & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "Heterogeneous Self-employment and Subjective Well-Being. Evidence from Latin America," ThE Papers 13/05, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job Satisfaction; Informality; Quality of Employment; Honduras; El Salvador; Guatemala.;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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