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The Persistence of Informality: Evidence from Panel Data

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  • Akay, Alpaslan

    () (University of Gothenburg)

  • Khamis, Melanie

    () (Wesleyan University)

Abstract

Informality is a growing phenomenon in the developing and transition country labor market context. In particular, it is noticeable that working in an informal employment relationship is often not temporary. The degree of persistence of informality in the labor market might be due to different sources: structural state dependence due to past informality experiences and spurious state dependence due to time-invariant unobserved individual effects, which can alter the propensity of being in the informal sector independently from actual informality experiences. The purpose of our paper is to study the dynamics of informality using a genuine panel data set in the Ukrainian labor market. By estimating a dynamic panel data probit model with endogenous initial conditions, we find a highly significant degree of persistence due to previous informality experiences. This result implies that policies attempting to reduce current levels of informality may have a long-lasting effect on the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Akay, Alpaslan & Khamis, Melanie, 2011. "The Persistence of Informality: Evidence from Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6163
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2007. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 3269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Arias, Omar & Khamis, Melanie, 2008. "Comparative Advantage, Segmentation and Informal Earnings: A Marginal Treatment Effects Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3916, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Melanie Khamis & Hartmut Lehmann, 2010. "Risk Attitudes and the Incidence of Informality among Workers: Evidence from a Transition Country," ESCIRRU Working Papers 22, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Who are the microenterprise owners ? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman v. de Soto," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4635, The World Bank.
    5. Rob Alessie & Stefan Hochguertel & Arthur van Soest, 2004. "Ownership of Stocks and Mutual Funds: A Panel Data Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 783-796, August.
    6. Mark B. Stewart, 2007. "The interrelated dynamics of unemployment and low-wage employment," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 511-531.
    7. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    8. Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Conceptualising Informality: Regulation and Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 4186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "International Differences in Entrepreneurship," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lern08-2, January.
    10. Wiji Arulampalam & Mark B. Stewart, 2009. "Simplified Implementation of the Heckman Estimator of the Dynamic Probit Model and a Comparison with Alternative Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(5), pages 659-681, October.
    11. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hartmut Lehmann & Alexander Muravyev & Klaus Zimmermann, 2012. "The Ukrainian longitudinal monitoring survey: towards a better understanding of labor markets in transition," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-15, December.
    2. Fabián Slonimczyk & Vladimir Gimpelson, 2015. "Informality and mobility," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 299-341, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transition countries; unobserved heterogeneity; state dependence; informality;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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