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Inequality and Employment in a Dual Economy: Enforcement of Labor Regulation in Brazil

Author

Listed:
  • Almeida, Rita K.

    () (World Bank)

  • Carneiro, Pedro

    () (University College London)

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of an increase in the enforcement of labor regulations on unemployment and inequality, using city level data from Brazil. We find that stricter enforcement (affecting the payment of mandated benefits to formal workers) leads to: higher unemployment, less income inequality, a higher proportion of formal employment, and a lower formal wage premium. Our results are consistent with a model where stricter enforcement causes a contraction in labor demand in the formal sector; and where workers value mandated benefits highly, so that there is an increase in the formal sector labor supply, an increase in the willingness to become unemployed to search for a formal sector job, and a decrease in labor supply to the informal sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Almeida, Rita K. & Carneiro, Pedro, 2007. "Inequality and Employment in a Dual Economy: Enforcement of Labor Regulation in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 3094, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3094
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Cowan, Kevin N. & Engel, Eduardo M.R.A. & Micco, Alejandro, 2013. "Effective labor regulation and microeconomic flexibility," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 92-104.
    2. Ricardo Caballero & Eduardo Engel & Alejandro Micco, 2005. "Microeconomic Flexibility in Latin America," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Jorge Restrepo & Andrea Tokman R. & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Edi (ed.), Labor Markets and Institutions, edition 1, volume 8, chapter 10, pages 329-366 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    4. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
    6. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1105-1129, July.
    8. Alejandro Micco - Carmen Pages, 2004. "Employment Protection and Gross Job Flows1," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 295, Econometric Society.
    9. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    10. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "The impact of regulation on growth and informality - cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3623, The World Bank.
    11. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2009. "Enforcement of labor regulation and firm size," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 28-46, March.
    12. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2012. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households And Firms," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 821-838, July.
    13. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:fgv:epgrbe:v:66:n:2:a:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gkinni, Eleni & Vasilaki, Eleni, 2013. "Employment protection and income inequality: is there a role for the informal sector?," MPRA Paper 45464, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Miriam Bruhn & Francisco Gallego, 2008. "Good, Bad, and Ugly Colonial Activities: Studying Development Across the Americas," Documentos de Trabajo 334, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    4. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2009. "Enforcement of labor regulation and firm size," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 28-46, March.
    5. Gaaitzen J. Vries, 2014. "Productivity in a Distorted Market: The Case of Brazil's Retail Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 499-524, September.
    6. Kaplan, David S. & Sadka, Joyce, 2008. "Enforceability of labor law : evidence from a labor court in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4483, The World Bank.
    7. Rita K. Almeida & Z. Bilgen Susanlı, 2012. "Firing Regulations and Firm Size in the Developing World: Evidence from Differential Enforcement," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 540-558, November.
    8. Ben Yahmed, Sarra, 2016. "Formal but less equal: Gender wage gaps in formal and informal jobs in Brazil," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-085, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Corseuil, Carlos Henrique L. & Foguel, Miguel Nathan, 2012. "Economic expansion and increase in labout market formality: A poaching approach," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 66(2), June.
    10. Erik Jonasson, 2011. "Informal Employment and the Role of Regional Governance," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 429-441, August.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:34548955 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Adriana Kugler, 2011. "Is there an Anti-labor Bias of Taxes? A Survey of the Evidence from Latin America and Around the World," Research Department Publications 4746, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment; inequality; labor regulations; enforcement; informal sector;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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