The Cyclical Behavior of Shadow and Regular Employment
Using data from the Italian Institute of Statistics, I examine the cyclical properties of three labor inputs - regular employees, regular self-employed, and underground workers. Results support the widespread view that, in Italy, the shadow employment functions as an improper tool for increasing the labor market flexibility. My analysis uncovers more details. While the contemporaneous correlation between shadow labor and output is significant, as time passes their association looses momentum. The opposite is found for regular employees, which show significant positive correlations with lagged output gaps only. Somewhat puzzling, self-employment seems to be the less sensitive to the course of business cycles. Possibly, hidden employment substitutes it as shock-absorber. Sectoral data tell different stories.
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