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Informality and Macroeconomic Fluctuations

Author

Listed:
  • Fiess, Norbert M.

    () (University of Glasgow)

  • Fugazza, Marco

    (UNCTAD)

  • Maloney, William F.

    () (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper examines the adjustment of developing country labor markets to macroeconomic shocks. It models as having two sectors: a formal salaried (tradable) sector that may or may not be affected by union or legislation induced wage rigidities, and an informal (nontradable) self-employment sector facing liquidity constraints to entry. This is embedded in a standard small economy macro model that permits the derivation of patterns of comovement among relative salaried/self-employed incomes, salaried/self-employed sector sizes and the real exchange rate with respect to different types of shocks in contexts with and without wage rigidities. The paper then explores time series data from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to test for cointegrating relationships corresponding to the patterns predicted by theory. We confirm episodes of expansion of informal self-employment consistent with the traditional segmentation views. However, we also identify episodes consistent with the sectoral expansion being driven by relative demand or productivity shocks to the nontradables sector that lead to “procyclical” behavior of the informal self-employed sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiess, Norbert M. & Fugazza, Marco & Maloney, William F., 2008. "Informality and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," IZA Discussion Papers 3519, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3519
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bosch, Mariano & Goni, Edwin & Maloney, William, 2007. "The determinants of rising informality in Brazil : Evidence from gross worker flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4375, The World Bank.
    2. Hakkio, Craig S. & Rush, Mark, 1991. "Cointegration: how short is the long run?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 571-581, December.
    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, September.
    4. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William, 2006. "Gross worker flows in the presence of informal labor markets. The Mexican experience 1987-2002," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19798, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Henrik Hansen & Søren Johansen, 1999. "Some tests for parameter constancy in cointegrated VAR-models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 306-333.
    7. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    9. Fiess, Norbert & Shankar, Rashmi, 2009. "Determinants of exchange rate regime switching," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 68-98, February.
    10. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
    11. Norbert Fiess & Marco fugazza & William Maloney, 2002. "Exchange Rate Appreciations, Labor Market Rigidities, and Informality," Working Papers 2005_15, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    12. 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.
    13. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
    14. Soren Johansen, 2002. "A Small Sample Correction for the Test of Cointegrating Rank in the Vector Autoregressive Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1929-1961, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos F. Prada, 2012. "Análisis de los flujos de trabajadores y la segmentación laboral en Colombia," Revista ESPE - Ensayos Sobre Política Económica, Banco de la República - ESPE, vol. 30(68), pages 74-113, June.
    2. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    3. Mauricio Santa María S. & Fabián García A. & Ana Virgina Mujica P., 2009. "Los costos no laborales y el mercado laboral: impacto de la reforma de salud en Colombia," Working Papers Series. Documentos de Trabajo 009186, Fedesarrollo.
    4. repec:ilo:ilowps:482088 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kamila Fialová, 2010. "Labor Institutions and their Impact on Shadow Economies in Europe," Working Papers IES 2010/29, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Dec 2010.
    6. Norbert Fiess & Marco Fugazza, 2008. "Trade Liberalisation and Informality: New stylized facts," Working Papers 2008_34, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    informality; labor market dynamics; self-employment; real exchange rates;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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