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The Determinants of Informality in Mexico's States


  • Sean Dougherty


  • Octavio Escobar

    (ESG Management School of Paris)


Informality has important implications for productivity, economic growth, and the inequality of income. In recent years, the extent of informal employment has increased in many of Mexico's states, though highly heterogeneously. The substantial differences across states in terms of informal employment can be helpful in explaining differences in economic growth outcomes. This paper studies the determinants of informal employment using states' diverging outcomes to identify causal factors, taking into account potential endogeneity. The results suggest that multiple factors explain differences in informal employment across states, including per capita income, the quality of labour skills, differences in the prevalence of microenterprises, the cost to start a business, restrictions on foreign investment, the rule of law and incidence of corruption. Les déterminants de l'informalité dans les États du Mexique L’informalité a des implications importantes sur la productivité, la croissance économique et l’inégalité des revenus. Ces dernières années, la mesure de l’emploi informel a augmenté dans la plupart des États du Mexique, bien que de manière très hétérogène. Les différences importantes entre les États en matière d’emploi informel peuvent être utiles pour expliquer les différences dans les résultats de la croissance économique. Cet article étudie les déterminants de l’emploi informel en utilisant les résultats divergents des États pour identifier les facteurs causaux, en tenant compte de l’endogénéité potentielle. Les résultats suggèrent que plusieurs facteurs expliquent les différences dans l’emploi informel à travers les États, y compris le revenu par habitant, la qualité de la main-d’oeuvre, les différences dans la prévalence des microentreprises, le coût pour démarrer une entreprise, les restrictions sur les investissements étrangers, l’État de droit et l’incidence de la corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Sean Dougherty & Octavio Escobar, 2013. "The Determinants of Informality in Mexico's States," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1043, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1043-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Abdelkrim Araar & Luis Huesca, 2014. "Comparison of the Tax System Progressivity Over Time: Theory and Application with Mexican Data," Cahiers de recherche 1419, CIRPEE.
    2. Antonio Baez-Morales, 2015. "“Determinants of Micro Firm Informality in Mexican States 2008-2012”," AQR Working Papers 201509, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Apr 2015.
    3. repec:col:000093:015846 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sean M. Dougherty & Octavio R. Escobar, 2016. "Could Mexico become the new ‘China’? Policy drivers of competitiveness and productivity," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 13(2), pages 169-198, December.
    5. Luis Huesca & Arturo Robles Valencia & Abdelkrim Araar, 2015. "Progressivity and decomposition of VAT in the Mexican border, 2014," Estudios Regionales en Economía, Población y Desarrollo. Cuadernos de Trabajo de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. 25, Cuerpo Académico 41 de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, revised 01 Jan 2015.
    6. Sahoo, Bimal & Neog, Bhaskar Jyoti, 2015. "Heterogeneity and participation in Informal employment among non-cultivator workers in India," MPRA Paper 68136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Abdelkrim Araar, 2016. "Comparison of fiscal system progressivity over time: theory and application in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 31(1), pages 3-45.

    More about this item


    analyse politique sous nationale; emploi informel; informal employment; micro-entreprises; microenterprises; politique de réglementation; regulatory policy; sub-national policy analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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