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Labor Market Institutions and Informality in Transition and Latin American Countries

  • Lehmann, Hartmut

    ()

    (University of Bologna)

  • Muravyev, Alexander

    ()

    (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg branch)

This paper analyzes, using country-level panel data from transition economies and Latin America, the impact of labor market institutions on informal economic activity. The measure of informal economic activity is taken from Schneider et al. (2010), the most comprehensive study to date. The data on institutions, which cover employment protection legislation (EPL), the tax wedge, the unemployment benefit level, unemployment benefit duration and union density, are assembled at the IZA (transition countries) and the World Bank (LAC countries). We find that a more regulated labor market (higher EPL) increases the size of the informal economy. There is also evidence that a larger tax wedge increases informality. The tax wedge elasticity of informal economy, when evaluated at the sample mean, is rather modest, around 0.1%. Our results are broadly in line with the literature, which identifies labor market regulation and the tax wedge as important drivers of informality.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7035.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Froelich, M., Kaplan, D., Pages, C., Rigolini, J. and D. Robalino (Eds.): Social Insurance ad Labor Markets: How to Protect Workers while Creating Good Jobs, Oxford University Press, 2014, 375-410.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7035
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  1. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  2. Olivier Blanchard, 2005. "European Unemployment: The Evolution of Facts and Ideas," NBER Working Papers 11750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Cunningham, Wendy V & Maloney, William F, 2001. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's Microenterprises: An Application of Factor and Cluster Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 131-56, October.
  4. Kerry Papps, 2010. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1017, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  5. Friedrich Schneider & Andreas Buehn & Claudio E. Montenegro, 2010. "Shadow Economies All over the World: New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007," Working Papers wp322, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  6. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  7. Kluve, Jochen & Lehmann, Hartmut & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2008. "Disentangling Treatment Effects of Active Labor Market Policies: The Role of Labor Force Status Sequences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1270-1295, December.
  8. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino, 2001. "The Economics of Employment Protection," IZA Discussion Papers 381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World; Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Slonimczyk, Fabian, 2011. "The effect of taxation on informal employment: evidence from the Russian flat tax reform," MPRA Paper 35404, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Betcherman, Gordon & Daysal, N. Meltem & Pagés, Carmen, 2008. "Do Employment Subsidies Work? Evidence from Regionally Targeted Subsidies in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 3508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  13. Gasparini Leonardo & Leonardo Tornaroli, 2009. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  14. Hartmut Lehmann & Norberto Pignatti, 2008. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," ESCIRRU Working Papers 3, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  15. Victor Aguirregabiria & Cesar Alonso-Borrego, 2009. "Labor Contracts and Flexibility: Evidence from a Labor Market Reform in Spain," Working Papers tecipa-346, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  16. Eichhorst, Werner & Feil, Michael & Braun, Christoph, 2008. "What have we learned? Assessing labor market institutions and indicators," IAB Discussion Paper 200822, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  17. Koettl, Johannes & Weber, Michael, 2012. "Does Formal Work Pay? The Role of Labor Taxation and Social Benefit Design in the New EU Member States," IZA Discussion Papers 6313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Jaime Saavedra & Alberto Chong, 1999. "Structural reform, institutions and earnings: Evidence from the formal and informal sectors in urban Peru," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 95-116.
  19. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  20. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
  21. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2007. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0720, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  22. Hartmut Lehmann & Alexander Muravyev, 2012. "Labour market institutions and labour market performance," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 20(2), pages 235-269, 04.
  23. David KUCERA & Leanne RONCOLATO, 2008. "Informal employment: Two contested policy issues," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 321-348, December.
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