IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Dynamics Using Markov Processes: An Application to Informality

  • Bosch, Mariano


    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Maloney, William F.


    (World Bank)

This paper discusses a set of statistics for examining and comparing labor market dynamics based on the estimation of continuous time Markov transition processes. It then uses these to establish stylized facts about dynamic patterns of movement using panel data from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The estimates suggest broad commonalities among the three countries, and establish numerous common patterns of worker mobility among sectors of work and inactivity. As such, we offer some of the first comparative work on labor dynamics. The paper then particularly focuses on the role of the informal sector, both for its intrinsic interest, and as a case study illustrating the strengths and limits of the tools. The results suggest that a substantial part of the informal sector, particularly the self-employed, corresponds to voluntary entry although informal salaried work may correspond more closely to the standard queuing view, especially for younger workers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3038.

in new window

Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2010, 17 (4), 621-631
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3038
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  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.
  4. Fiess, Norbert M. & Fugazza, Marco & Maloney, William F., 2010. "Informal self-employment and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 211-226, March.
  5. Magnac, Th, 1991. "Segmented or Competitive Labor Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 165-87, January.
  6. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  7. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  8. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Efficiency and Sticky Wages: Evidence from Flows in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 11183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jose Scheinkman & Aureo de Paula, 2007. "The Informal Sector," 2007 Meeting Papers 117, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  11. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
  12. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  13. Thierry Magnac & Jean-Marc Robin, 1994. "An econometric analysis of labour market transitions using discrete and tenure data," Post-Print hal-00359430, HAL.
  14. Geweke, John & Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1986. "Mobility Indices in Continuous Time Markov Chains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1407-23, November.
  15. Loayza, Norman A., 1997. "The economics of the informal sector : a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1727, The World Bank.
  16. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  17. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:53:y:1986:i:4:p:653-69 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1992. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 4000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Leonardo Gasparini & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2007. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0046, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  21. Michael W. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & Gary Solon, 2007. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 12853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  23. William F. Maloney & Jairo Nunez Mendez, 2003. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 9800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1339-1382 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Geweke, John, 1986. "Exact Inference in the Inequality Constrained Normal Linear Regression Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 127-41, April.
  26. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Substitution and Division of Labour," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 45(179), pages 235-50, August.
  28. Akerlof, George A & Main, Brian G M, 1981. "An Experience-Weighted Measure of Employment and Unemployment Durations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1003-11, December.
  29. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  30. Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Job search and mobility in developing countries. Theory and policy implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-355, June.
  31. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William, 2005. "Labor market dynamics in developing countries: comparative analysis using continuous time Markov processes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3583, The World Bank.
  32. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The cyclicality of hires, separations, and job-to-job transitions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 493-508.
  33. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  34. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3038. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.