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Unemployment Compensation and the Allocation of Labor in Developing Countries

  • Charlot, Olivier

    ()

    (University of Cergy-Pontoise)

  • Malherbet, Franck

    ()

    (University of Rouen)

  • Ulus, Mustafa

    ()

    (Galatasaray University)

This paper studies the effects of the introduction of unemployment compensation (UC) in countries characterized by pervasive informality. We provide a simple framework to analyze the impact of UC on the allocation of workers between formal and informal activities, as well as the allocation of workers between sectors featuring different incentives to go informal. We show that a reasonable amount of UC may reduce informality, while larger amounts of UC induce large disincentives to go formal because of the level of taxation involved. We also argue that the financing of UC should be part and parcel of a well- conceived UC system. We show that UC finance based on payroll taxes is likely to entail an excess level of informality resulting from cross-subsidies between heterogenous sectors. The introduction of a simple layoff tax meant to finance the UC system is then shown to reduce informality, hence highlighting how a well-designed financing scheme may be used as a supplementary instrument to curb informality.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7233.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7233
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  1. 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.
  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. Olivier Charlot & Franck Malherbet & Cristina Terra, 2011. "Product market regulation, firm size, unemployment and informality in developing economies," Working Papers hal-00568676, HAL.
  4. Margolis, David N. & Navarro, Lucas & Robalino, David A., 2012. "Unemployment Insurance, Job Search and Informal Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 6660, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  6. Mário Centeno & Álvaro Novo, 2009. "Reemployment wages and UI liquidity effect: a regression discontinuity approach," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 45-52, April.
  7. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  8. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2008. "Online Appendix for "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries"," Technical Appendices 06-167, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  9. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2008. "Does reducing unemployment insurance generosity reduce job match quality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 684-695, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Basu, Arnab K & Chau, Nancy H & Kanbur, Ravi, 2011. "Contractual Dualism, Market Power and Informality," CEPR Discussion Papers 8485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 922, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Conceptualizing Informality: Regulation and Enforcement," Working Papers 48926, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  14. Holmlund, B., 1997. "Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Papers 1997-25, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  15. Vodopivec, Milan, 2009. "Introducing unemployment insurance to developing countries," Social Protection Discussion Papers 49170, The World Bank.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  17. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2008. "Labour Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Studies in Economics 0805, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  18. Günther, Isabel & Launov, Andrey, 2012. "Informal employment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 88-98.
  19. Franck Malherbet & Mustafa Ulus, 2003. "Unemployment Insurance and Labor Reallocation," Working Papers 2003-17, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  20. Deere, Donald R, 1991. "Unemployment Insurance and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 307-24, October.
  21. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
  22. Cahuc, Pierre & Zylberberg, Andre, 2005. "Optimum Income Taxation and Layoff Taxes," IZA Discussion Papers 1678, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. 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.
  24. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
  25. Robalino, David A. & Zylberstajn, Eduardo & Robalino, Juan David, 2011. "Incentive Effects of Risk Pooling, Redistributive and Savings Arrangements in Unemployment Benefit Systems: Evidence from a Job-Search Model for Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 5476, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Christian Belzil, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and subsequent job duration: job matching versus unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 619-636.
  27. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
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