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Wages and informailty in developing countries

  • Costas Meghir

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University)

  • Renata Narita
  • Jean-Marc Robin

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Sciences Po)

It is often argued that informal labour markets in developing countries are the engine of growth because their existence allows firms to operate in an environment where wage and regulatory costs are lower. On the other hand informality means that the amount of social protection offered to workers is lower. In this paper we extend the wage-posting framework of Burdett and Mortensen (1998) to allow for two sectors of employment. Firms are heterogeneous and decide endogenously in which sector to locate. Workers engage in both off the job and on the job search and decide which offers to accept. Direct transitions across sectors are permitted, which matches the evidence in the data about job mobility. Our empirical analysis uses Brazilian labour force surveys. We use the model to discuss the relative merits of alternative policies towards informality. In particular, we evaluate the impact of a tighter regulatory framework on employment in the formal and the informal sector on the distribution of wages.

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File URL: http://www.cemmap.ac.uk/wps/cwp081313.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP08/13.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:08/13
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  1. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van Den Berg, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," Working Papers 249986, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  2. Mariano Bosch, 2006. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal labour markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19785, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
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  5. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv208, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  7. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-74, November.
  8. repec:dgr:uvatin:2098089 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  10. Petrongolo, Barbara & Pissarides, Christopher, 2000. "Looking Into The Black Box: A Survey Of The Matching Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 2409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "The Formal Sector Wage Premium and Firm Size," IZA Discussion Papers 3145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. repec:dgr:uvatin:19980089 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730, October.
  14. van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Multiple Equilibria and Minimum Wages in Labor Markets with Informational Frictions and Heterogeneous Production Technologies," IZA Discussion Papers 806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  16. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  17. Berg, G.J. & Ridder, G., 1993. "An empirical equilibrium search model of the labour market," Serie Research Memoranda 0039, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  18. Jolivet, Gregory & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 877-907, May.
  19. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
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