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How, Why and in What Sectors Employment Informality Decreased in Argentina from 2003 to 2012


  • Bertranou, Fabio
  • Casanova, Luis
  • Sarabia, Marianela


In a brief period of time after the 2001-2002 crisis, there was a dramatic fall in informal salaried employment in Argentina. Informal employment—also called “non-registered employment”—refers to employment for which no social security contribution is made. This indicator dropped by fifteen percentage points, from 49% to 34% from 2003 to 2012. This paper analyzes the recent evolution of informal employment and the main policies designed to reduce its scope and to encourage the creation of quality employment. It has been observed that the decline in informal employment, measured as non-registered salaried employment, is primarily due to net creation of formal employment and, to a lesser extent, to net destruction of non-registered employment. The rate of informal employment declined in all sectors of the economy and in establishments of all sizes. Extensive mobility between non-registered salaried employment and inactivity (mainly among low-skilled women workers) has been observed as well and, albeit to a lesser extent, between non-registered salaried employment and formal employment. Since most informal workers are unskilled and perform their jobs in work units that are difficult for public policies to identify, a comprehensive policy approach is necessary, one that considers economic, social and employment issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertranou, Fabio & Casanova, Luis & Sarabia, Marianela, 2013. "How, Why and in What Sectors Employment Informality Decreased in Argentina from 2003 to 2012," MPRA Paper 47467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47467

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:467787 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lucas Ronconi, 2010. "Enforcement and Compliance with Labor Regulations in Argentina," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 719-736, July.
    3. Santiago Garganta & Leonardo Gasparini, 2012. "El Impacto de un Programa Social sobre la Informalidad Laboral: El Caso de la AUH en Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0133, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    4. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2000. "Decomposition Analysis for a Binary Choice Model," IZA Discussion Papers 145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Lucas Ronconi & Jorge Colina, 2011. "Simplification of Labor Registration in Argentina: Achievements and Pending Issues," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 62158, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Damill, Mario. & Frenkel, Roberto. & Maurizio, Roxana., 2011. "Macroeconomic policy for full and productive employment and decent work for all [ electronic resource ]: an analysis of the Argentine experience," ILO Working Papers 994677873402676, International Labour Organization.
    7. Berg, Janine, 2010. "Laws or luck? Understanding rising formality in Brazil in the 2000s," MPRA Paper 43608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luis Beccaria & Roxana Maurizio & Martin Trombetta & Gustavo Vázquez, 2016. "Una evaluación del efecto scarring en Argentina," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, vol. 77, August.
    2. Bertranou, Fabio, 2014. "Mechanisms for the Formulation and Implementation of Employment Policy in Argentina," MPRA Paper 53342, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:ilo:ilowps:485638 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Roxana Maurizio, 2015. "Transitions to Formality and Declining Inequality: Argentina and Brazil in the 2000s," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(5), pages 1047-1079, September.
    5. Bertranou, Fabio., 2014. "Employment policy implementation mechanisms in Argentina," ILO Working Papers 994856383402676, International Labour Organization.

    More about this item


    Informal employment; informal economy; labor market; labor policies; Argentina;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J80 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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