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Wages and Informality in Developing Countries

  • Costas Meghir
  • Renata Narita, Jean-Marc Robin

    ()

It is often argued that informal labour markets in developing countries are the engine of growth because their existence allows firms to operate in an environment where wage and regulatory costs are lower. On the other hand informality means that the amount of social protection offered to workers is lower. In this paper we extend the wage-posting framework of Burdett and Mortensen (1998) to allow for two sectors of employment. Firms are heterogeneous and decide endogenously in which sector to locate. Workers engage in both off the job and on the job search and decide which offers to accept. Direct transitions across sectors are permitted, which matches the evidence in the data about job mobility. Our empirical analysis uses Brazilian labour force surveys. We use the model to discuss the relative merits of alternative policies towards informality. In particular, we evaluate the impact of a tighter regulatory framework on employment in the formal and the informal sector and on the distribution of wages.

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File URL: http://www.fea.usp.br/feaecon/RePEc/documentos/Meghir_Narita_Robin_Wages&Informality20WP.pdf
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Paper provided by University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) in its series Working Papers, Department of Economics with number 2013_20.

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Date of creation: 28 Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2013wpecon20
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  1. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  2. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  3. van den Berg, Gerard J, 2003. "Multiple Equilibria and Minimum Wages in Labour Markets with Informational Frictions and Heterogenous Production Technologies," CEPR Discussion Papers 3977, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  5. Mariano Bosch, 2006. "Job creation and job destruction in the presence of informal labour markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19785, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  7. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-74, November.
  8. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-58, May.
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  10. Pratap, Sangeeta & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "Are labor markets segmented in developing countries? A semiparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1817-1841, October.
  11. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "The Formal Sector Wage Premium and Firm Size," IZA Discussion Papers 3145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2006. "The Effects of Labor Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Working Papers gueconwpa~06-06-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  13. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. repec:dgr:uvatin:2098089 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Berg, G.J. & Ridder, G., 1993. "An empirical equilibrium search model of the labour market," Serie Research Memoranda 0039, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
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  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  18. Jolivet, Gregory & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 877-907, May.
  19. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  20. 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, June.
  21. Fugazza, Marco & Jacques, Jean-Francois, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 395-418, January.
  22. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van Den Berg, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," Working Papers 249986, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  23. Gerard J. van den Berg, 1998. "Empirical Inference with Equilibrium Search Models of the Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-089/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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