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Labor Market Search, Informality and Schooling Investments

Author

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  • Bobba, Matteo

    (Toulouse School of Economics)

  • Flabbi, Luca

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

  • Levy Algazi, Santiago

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

Abstract

We develop a search and matching model where firms and workers are allowed to form matches (jobs) that can be formal or informal. Workers optimally choose the level of schooling acquired before entering the labor market and whether searching for a job as unemployed or as self-employed. Firms optimally decide the formality status of the job and bargain with workers over wages. The resulting equilibrium size of the informal sector is an endogenous function of labor market parameters and institutions. We focus on an increasingly important institution: a "dual" social protection system whereby contributory benefits in the formal sector coexist with non-contributory benefits in the informal sector. We estimate preferences for the system – together with all the other structural parameters of the labor market – using labor force survey data from Mexico and the time-staggered entry across municipalities of a non-contributory social program. Policy experiments show that informality may be reduced by either increasing or decreasing the payroll tax rate in the formal sector. They also show that a universal social security benefit system would decrease informality, incentivize schooling, and increase productivity at a relative fiscal cost that is similar to the one generated by the current system.

Suggested Citation

  • Bobba, Matteo & Flabbi, Luca & Levy Algazi, Santiago, 2017. "Labor Market Search, Informality and Schooling Investments," IZA Discussion Papers 11170, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11170
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    Cited by:

    1. Bobba, Matteo & Flabbi, Luca & Levy, Santiago & Tejada, Mauricio, 2021. "Labor market search, informality, and on-the-job human capital accumulation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 223(2), pages 433-453.
    2. Camilo Bohorquez-Penuela & Andrea Otero-Cortes, 2020. "Blame it on the Rain: The Effects of Weather Shocks on Formal Rural Employment in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo Sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 018404, Banco de la República - Economía Regional.
    3. Renata Narita, 2020. "Self-Employment in Developing Countries: A Search-Equilibrium Approach," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 1-34, January.
    4. Bustelo, Monserrat & Flabbi, Luca & Piras, Claudia & Tejada, Mauricio, 2019. "Female Labor Force Participation, Labor Market Dynamic and Growth in LAC," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9420, Inter-American Development Bank.
    5. Gabriella Conti & Rita Ginja, Renata Narita, 2018. "The Value of Health Insurance: A Household Job Search Approach," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2018_18, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    6. Busso, Matias & Chauvin, Juan Pablo & Herrera L., Nicolás, 2021. "Rural-urban migration at high urbanization levels," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    7. Mauricio Tejada & Claudia Piras & Luca Flabbi & Monserrat Bustelo, 2021. "Gender Gaps in Latin American Labor Markets: Implications from an Estimated Search Model," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 142, pages 111-178.
    8. Kevin Donovan & Will Jianyu Lu & Todd Schoellman, 2020. "Labor Market Dynamics and Development," Staff Report 596, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Lucas Navarro & Mauricio Tejada, 2022. "Does Public Sector Employment Buffer the Minimum Wage Effects?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 43, pages 168-196, January.
    10. Matteo Bobba & Luca Flabbi & Santiago Levy, 2022. "Labor Market Search, Informality, And Schooling Investments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 63(1), pages 211-259, February.
    11. Renata Narita, 2020. "Self-Employment in Developing Countries: A Search-Equilibrium Approach," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 1-34, January.
    12. Esteban-Pretel, Julen & Kitao, Sagiri, 2021. "Labor Market Policies in a Dual Economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    13. Matteo Bobba & Luca Flabbi & Santiago Levy, 2022. "Labor Market Search, Informality, And Schooling Investments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 63(1), pages 211-259, February.
    14. Azuara Herrera, Oliver & Azuero, Rodrigo & Bosch, Mariano & Torres, Jesica, 2019. "Special Tax Regimes in Latin America and the Caribbean: Compliance, Social Protection, and Resource Misallocation," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9511, Inter-American Development Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to schooling; labor market frictions; search and matching; Nash bargaining; informality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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