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Wages and informality in developing countries

  • Costas Meghir

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University)

  • Renata Narita

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Jean-Marc Robin

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap 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. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  2. Albrecht, James & Navarro, Lucas & Vroman, Susan, 2006. "The Effects of Labor Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2141, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Grégory Jolivet & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "The Empirical Content of the Job Search Model: Labor Mobility and Wage Distributions in Europe and the U.S," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00308803, HAL.
  4. van den Berg, Gerard J, 2003. "Multiple Equilibria and Minimum Wages in Labour Markets with Informational Frictions and Heterogenous Production Technologies," CEPR Discussion Papers 3977, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  6. Mariano Bosch, 2006. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Presence of Informal Labour Markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp0761, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van den Berg, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model With Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," Post-Print hal-00357757, HAL.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. repec:inr:wpaper:249986 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  14. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-58, May.
  16. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  17. Jacques, Jean-François & Fugazza, Marco, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1888, Paris Dauphine University.
  18. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van den Berg, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," Post-Print hal-00357755, HAL.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. repec:dgr:uvatin:2098089 is not listed on IDEAS
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