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The Value of Social Security: Are Formal Jobs Better?

Author

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  • Madrigal, Lucia

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Pagés, Carmen

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Suaya, Agustina

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

Abstract

As the population ages, low and unequal social security coverage are among the most pressing challenges in the Latin American region. On average, only 45% of workers contribute to social security, and this figure is much lower for low-income and low-skilled individuals. There are many hypotheses for this limited and uneven coverage. This paper studies two of them: First, we test whether individuals do not contribute to social insurance because, due to myopia or limited information, they place little value in social insurance. Second, we test whether low-income, low-skilled individuals have a lower value of social insurance than higher-income or higher-skilled individuals. Using an indirect method to estimate individual social security valuation based on self-reported job satisfaction, we find that workers attain higher job satisfaction in formal than in informal jobs in Peru but not in the case of Mexico. In addition, we find little evidence that the value of social insurance increases with income or education. If anything, the opposite is the case, with lower-income or lower-education individuals deriving higher utility from having access to social insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Madrigal, Lucia & Pagés, Carmen & Suaya, Agustina, 2016. "The Value of Social Security: Are Formal Jobs Better?," IZA Discussion Papers 9866, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9866
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    2. Miguel Jaramillo, 2013. "Is there demand for formality among informal firms? Evidence from microfirms in downtown Lima," Avances de Investigación 0013, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE).
    3. Florencia Lopez Boo & Lucia Madrigal & Carmen Pages, 2010. "Part-Time Work, Gender and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from a Developing Country," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(9), pages 1543-1571.
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    5. Azuara, Oliver & Marinescu, Ioana, 2013. "Informality and the expansion of social protection programs: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 938-950.
    6. GAO, Wenshu & SMYTH, Russell, 2010. "Job satisfaction and relative income in economic transition: Status or signal?: The case of urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 442-455, September.
    7. Verónica Alaimo & Mariano Bosch & David S. Kaplan & Carmen Pagés & Laura Ripani, 2015. "Jobs for Growth," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 90977, February.
    8. Carmen Pages & Lucia Madrigal, 2008. "Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality? Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data," Research Department Publications 4603, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. 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.
    10. Rafael Rofman & Ignacio Apella & Evelyn Vezza, 2015. "Beyond Contributory Pensions : Fourteen Experiences with Coverage Expansion in Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 20602.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    job satisfaction; informality; social insurance; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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