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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: forthcoming in: Froelich, M., Kaplan, D., Pages, C., Rigolini, J. and D. Robalino (Eds.): Social Insurance and Labor Markets: How to Protect Workers while Creating Good Jobs, Oxford University Press, 2014.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7035
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  1. Papps, Kerry L., 2011. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 6214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Olivier Blanchard, 2005. "European Unemployment: The Evolution of Facts and Ideas," NBER Working Papers 11750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Betcherman, Gordon & Daysal, N. Meltem & Pagés, Carmen, 2010. "Do employment subsidies work? Evidence from regionally targeted subsidies in Turkey," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 710-722, August.
  5. Eichhorst, Werner & Feil, Michael & Braun, Christoph, 2008. "What Have We Learned? Assessing Labor Market Institutions and Indicators," IZA Discussion Papers 3470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. J. Kluve & H. Lehmann & C. M. Schmidt, 2007. "Disentangling Treatment Effects of Active Labor Market Policies: The Role of Labor Force Status Sequences," Working Papers 620, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World: Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Cunningham, Wendy V. & Maloney, William F., 1998. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's micro-enterprises - an application of factor and cluster analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1999, The World Bank.
  13. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Peter, Klara Sabirianova, 2007. "Myth and Reality of Flat Tax Reform: Micro Estimates of Tax Evasion Response and Welfare Effects in Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 3267, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. Schneider, Friedrich & Buehn, Andreas & Montenegro, Claudio E., 2010. "Shadow economies all over the world : new estimates for 162 countries from 1999 to 2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5356, The World Bank.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Leonardo Gasparini & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2007. "Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0046, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  21. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira, 2003. "The Economics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 24(1), pages 85-129, January.
  22. David KUCERA & Leanne RONCOLATO, 2008. "Informal employment: Two contested policy issues," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 321-348, December.
  23. 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).
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