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Informal Labor Supply in the United States: New Estimates from the Fragile Families Survey

Author

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  • Samara Gunter

    (Colby College)

Abstract

Past studies of the informal economy in the US focused on small geographic areas and select populations. This paper uses a nationally representative panel survey of urban parents, the largest and most diverse data yet, to describe the nature of informal work in the United States. Informal work is pervasive and widespread across demographic characteristics. Approximately 51 percent of urban fathers and 28 percent of urban mothers of young children pursue informal work over a five-year period. Individuals transition in and out of short, intense bouts of informal work. Conditional on participating, men work in the informal sector an average of 22 hours in a usual week (20 for women) and an average of 18 weeks during the year (18 for women).

Suggested Citation

  • Samara Gunter, 2012. "Informal Labor Supply in the United States: New Estimates from the Fragile Families Survey," Working Papers 1426, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp12-16-ff.pdf
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    File URL: https://fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/sites/fragilefamilies/files/wp12-16-ff.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
    3. repec:mes:jeciss:v:33:y:1999:i:3:p:579-607 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Larrivee, John & Shaffer, Ron E., 2007. "Understanding the Local Unrecorded Economy: Informal Work and Home Production in Non-Metropolitan Wisconsin," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 37(2), pages 1-17.
    5. Enrico Marcelli, 2004. "Unauthorized Mexican Immigration, Day Labour and other Lower-wage Informal Employment in California," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 1-13.
    6. Lauren M. Rich & Irwin Garfinkel & Qin Gao, 2007. "Child support enforcement policy and unmarried fathers' employment in the underground and regular economies," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 791-810.
    7. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
    8. Roberto Dell'Anno & Offiong Helen Solomon, 2008. "Shadow economy and unemployment rate in USA: is there a structural relationship? An empirical analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(19), pages 2537-2555.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    work; parents; urban mothers; young children;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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