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The formal sector wage premium and firm size for self-employed workers

  • Olivier Bargain
  • Eliane Badaoui
  • Prudence Kwenda
  • Eric Strobl
  • Frank Walsh

We develop a model where workers may enter self-employment or search for jobs as employees and where there is heterogeneity across workers’ managerial ability. Workers with higher skills will manage larger firms while workers with low managerial ability will run smaller firms and will be in self-employment only when they cannot find a salaried job. For these workers self-employment is a secondary/informal form of employment. The Burdett and Mortensen (1998) equilibrium search model is used for illustration as a special case of our more general framework. Empirical evidence from Mexico is provided and demonstrates that firm size wage effects for employees and self-employed workers are broadly consistent with the model.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3719
File Function: First version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201207.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201207
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv208, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  2. Cunningham, Wendy V & Maloney, William F, 2001. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's Microenterprises: An Application of Factor and Cluster Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 131-56, October.
  3. El Badaoui, Eliane & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2010. "The formal sector wage premium and firm size," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 37-47, January.
  4. McKenzie, David & Seynabou Sakho, Yaye, 2010. "Does it pay firms to register for taxes? The impact of formality on firm profitability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 15-24, January.
  5. Aysit Tansel, 1999. "Formal Versus Informal Sector Choice of Wage Earners and their Wages in Turkey," Working Papers 9927, Economic Research Forum, revised Sep 1999.
  6. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  7. Teal, Francis, 2011. "The price of labour and understanding the causes of poverty," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S7-S15.
  8. Pradhan, M. & Van Soest, A., 1993. "Formal and Informal Sector Employment in Urban Areas of Bolivia," Papers 9311, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  9. Fiess, Norbert M. & Fugazza, Marco & Maloney, William F., 2010. "Informal self-employment and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 211-226, March.
  10. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  11. Amaral, Pedro S. & Quintin, Erwan, 2006. "A competitive model of the informal sector," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1541-1553, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Günther, Isabel & Launov, Andrey, 2012. "Informal employment in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 88-98.
  14. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1975. "The Theory of Share-Cropping with Labour Market Dualism," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 42(167), pages 261-71, August.
  15. Jacques, Jean-François & Fugazza, Marco, 2004. "Labor market institutions, taxation and the underground economy," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1888, Paris Dauphine University.
  16. 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.
  17. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2011. "Earnings Structures, Informal Employment, And Self‐Employment: New Evidence From Brazil, Mexico, And South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57, pages S100-S122, 05.
  18. 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.
  19. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
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