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Growing Apart or Moving Together? Synchronization of Informal and Formal Economy Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Ceyhun Elgin

    (Columbia University and Bogazici University)

  • M. Ayhan Kose

    (World Bank, Prospects Group; Brookings Institution; CEPR; and CAMA)

  • Franziska Ohnsorge

    (World Bank, Prospects Group; CEPR; and CAMA)

  • Shu Yu

    (World Bank)

Abstract

We study the degree of synchronization between formal- and informal-economy business cycles. Using a comprehensive database of informal activity that covers a wide range of informality measures from almost 160 countries over the 1990-2018 period, we report two major results. First, fluctuations in informal-sector output are strongly positively correlated with those in formal-sector output. In contrast, fluctuations in informal employment are largely uncorrelated with those in formal-sector output. Second, movements in the formal economy tend to spillover to the informal economy. Using a novel set of instrumental variables, we show that fluctuations in formal-sector output “cause” movements in informal-sector output.

Suggested Citation

  • Ceyhun Elgin & M. Ayhan Kose & Franziska Ohnsorge & Shu Yu, 2021. "Growing Apart or Moving Together? Synchronization of Informal and Formal Economy Cycles," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2115, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:2115
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Informal economy; self-employment; business cycle.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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