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Informality and Macroeconomic Fluctuations

  • Fiess, Norbert M.

    ()

    (University of Glasgow)

  • Fugazza, Marco

    (UNCTAD)

  • Maloney, William F.

    ()

    (World Bank)

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.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3519.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3519.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3519
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
  4. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  6. Craig S. Hakkio & Mark Rush, 1990. "Cointegration: how short is the long run?," Research Working Paper 90-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  7. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  8. Fugazza, Marco & Fiess, Norbert M. & Maloney, William, 2002. "Exchange rate appreciations, labor market rigidities, and informality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2771, The World Bank.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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.
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