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Self-Employment, Wage Employment and Informality in a Developing Economy

  • Bennett, John


    (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Rablen, Matthew D.


    (Brunel University)

We construct a simple model incorporating various urban labour market phenomena obtaining in developing economies. Our initial formulation assumes an integrated labour market and allows for entrepreneurship, self-employment and wage employment. We then introduce labour market segmentation. In equilibrium voluntary and involuntary self-employment, formal and informal wage employment, and formal and informal entrepreneurship may all coexist. We illustrate the model by an example calibrated on Latin American data, examining individual labour market transitions and implications of education/training and labour market policies. To diminish informality, cutting the costs of formality is more effective than raising those of informality.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6406.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Oxford Economic Papers, 2015, 67 (2), 227-244.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6406
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  1. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2008. "Enforcement of labor regulation and firm size," Social Protection Discussion Papers 43675, The World Bank.
  2. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv208, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  3. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William F., 2010. "Comparative analysis of labor market dynamics using Markov processes: An application to informality," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 621-631, August.
  4. Guillermo E. Perry & William F. Maloney & Omar S. Arias & Pablo Fajnzylber & Andrew D. Mason & Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, 2007. "Informality : Exit and Exclusion," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6730.
  5. Gollin, Douglas, 2008. "Nobody's business but my own: Self-employment and small enterprise in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 219-233, March.
  6. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  7. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Is There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty? Evidence from South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 3151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  9. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2006. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001030, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
  11. Bloom, Nicholas & Eifert, Benn & Mahajan, Aprajit & McKenzie, David & Roberts, John, 2011. "Does management matter ? evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5573, The World Bank.
  12. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
  13. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Who Are the Microenterprise Owners? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman v. de Soto," IZA Discussion Papers 3511, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Aureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-018, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 21 May 2008.
  17. Cunningham, Wendy & Salvagno, Javier Bustos, 2011. "Youth employment transitions in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5521, The World Bank.
  18. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  19. Banerji, Arup & Jain, Sanjay, 2007. "Quality dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 234-250, September.
  20. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
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