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The Formal/Informal Employment Earnings GAP: Evidence From Turkey

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  • Aysýt Tansel

    (Middle East Technical University)

  • Elif Öznur Kan

    (Cankaya University)

Abstract

In this study, we examine the formal/informal sector earnings differentials in the Turkish labor market using detailed econometric methodologies and a novel panel data set drawn from the 2006-2009 Income and Living Conditions Survey (SILC). In particular, we test if there is evidence of traditional segmented labor markets theory which postulates that informal workers are typically subject to lower remuneration than similar workers in the formal sector. Estimation of standard Mincer earnings equations at the mean using OLS on a pooled sample of workers confirms the existence of an informal penalty, but also shows that almost half of this penalty can be explained by observable variables. Along wage/self-employment divide, our results are in line with the traditional theory that formal-salaried workers are paid significantly higher than their informal counterparts. Confirming the heterogeneity within informal employment, we find that self-employed are often subject to lower remuneration compared to those who are salaried. Moreover, using quantile regression estimations, we show that pay differentials are not uniform along the earnings distribution. More specifically, we find that informal penalty decreases with the earnings level, implying a heterogeneous informal sector with upper-tier jobs carrying a significant premium and lower-tier jobs being largely penalized. Finally, fixed effects estimation of the earnings gap depict that unobserved individual fixed effects when combined with controls for observable individual and employment characteristics explain the pay differentials between formal and informal employment entirely, thereby implying that formal/informal segmentation may not be a stylized fact of the Turkish labor market as previously thought.

Suggested Citation

  • Aysýt Tansel & Elif Öznur Kan, 2012. "The Formal/Informal Employment Earnings GAP: Evidence From Turkey," Working Papers 2012/23, Turkish Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:tek:wpaper:2012/23
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    2. Petr Huber & Ulugbek Rahimov, 2014. "Formal and Informal Sector Wage Differences in Transition Economies: Evidence from Tajikistan," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2014-48, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    3. Huu Chi Nguyen & Christophe J. Nordman & François Roubaud, 2013. "Who Suffers the Penalty?: A Panel Data Analysis of Earnings Gaps in Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 1694-1710, December.
    4. Aysit Tansel & Halil Ibrahim Keskin & Zeynel Abidin Ozdemir, 2015. "Is There An Infırmal Employment Wage Penalty in Egypt?," ERC Working Papers 1508, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Sep 2015.
    5. repec:voj:journl:v:63:y:2016:i:3:p:293-312 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gizem Akar & Binnur Balkan & Semih Tümen, 2013. "Overview of Firm-Size and Gender Pay Gaps in Turkey: The Role of Informal Employment," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 1-21, September.
    7. repec:ecr:col070:43454 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:bla:econpa:v:36:y:2017:i:1:p:86-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Tansel, Aysit & Ozdemir, Zeynel / A., 2014. "Determinants of Transitions across Formal/Informal sectors in Egypt," MPRA Paper 61183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ceyhun Elgin & Burak Sezgin, 2017. "Sectoral Estimates of Informality: A New Method and An Application to Turkish Economy," Working Papers 2017/02, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    11. Tansel, Aysit & Ozdemir, Zeynel / A., 2014. "Determinants of Transitions across Formal/Informal sectors in Egypt," MPRA Paper 61183, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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