IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/unu/wpaper/rp2006-130.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Informal Sector in Developing Countries: Output, Assets and Employment

Author

Listed:
  • Sangeeta Pratap
  • Erwan Quintin

Abstract

This study documents four key facts about informal economic activities: (1) the size of the informal sector varies greatly across nations; (2) this size is strongly correlated with economic development, the tax burden, and the rule of law; (3) the informal sector emphasizes small-scale, self-financed and unskilled labour intensive economic activities; and (4), while financial markets are generally segmented along formal/informal lines in developing nations there is no compelling evidence that this is true for labour markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Sangeeta Pratap & Erwan Quintin, 2006. "The Informal Sector in Developing Countries: Output, Assets and Employment," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2006-130, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2006-130
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/rp2006-130.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    3. Fortin, Bernard & Marceau, Nicolas & Savard, Luc, 1997. "Taxation, wage controls and the informal sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 293-312, November.
    4. Pradhan, Menno & van Soest, Arthur, 1995. "Formal and informal sector employment in urban areas of Bolivia," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 275-297, September.
    5. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
    6. Gong, Xiaodong & van Soest, Arthur, 2002. "Wage differentials and mobility in the urban labour market: a panel data analysis for Mexico," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 513-529, September.
    7. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    8. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-646, June.
    9. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bromley, Ray, 1978. "Introduction - the urban informal sector: Why is it worth discussing?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 6(9-10), pages 1033-1039.
    12. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    13. James Heckman & Jose Scheinkman, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 243-255.
    14. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-392, May.
    15. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    16. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
    17. Dessy, Sylvain & Pallage, Stephane, 2003. "Taxes, inequality and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 225-233, February.
    18. Loayza, Norman V., 1996. "The economics of the informal sector: a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 129-162, December.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Jay Pil Choi & Marcel Thum, 2005. "Corruption And The Shadow Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 817-836, August.
    22. Gollin, Douglas, 2008. "Nobody's business but my own: Self-employment and small enterprise in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 219-233, March.
    23. 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.
    24. Magnac, Th, 1991. "Segmented or Competitive Labor Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 165-187, January.
    25. Sherwin Rosen, 2005. "Substitution And Division Of Labour," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: An Inframarginal Approach To Trade Theory, chapter 3, pages 29-51 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    26. Gauthier, Bernard & Gersovitz, Mark, 1997. "Revenue erosion through exemption and evasion in Cameroon, 1993," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 407-424, June.
    27. M. Soderbaum & F. Teal, 2000. "Skills, Investment and Exports from Manufacturing Firms in Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 13-43.
    28. 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.
    29. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    30. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
    31. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
    32. repec:hrv:faseco:30728045 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Pedro S. Amaral & Erwan Quintin, 2003. "The Implications of Capital-Skill Complementarity in Economies with Large Informal Sectors," Macroeconomics 0309017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Erwan Quintin, 2008. "Contract enforcement and the size of the informal economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(3), pages 395-416, December.
    3. Russo Francesco Flaviano, 2018. "Informality: the Doorstep of the Legal System," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 49-70, June.
    4. Arbex, Marcelo & Galvao, Antonio F. & Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis, 2010. "Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education and Informal Activities," Insper Working Papers wpe_216, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    5. Zoë Kuehn, 2014. "Tax Rates, Governance, And The Informal Economy In High-Income Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 405-430, January.
    6. Amin, Mohammad & Islam, Asif, 2015. "Are Large Informal Firms More Productive than the Small Informal Firms? Evidence from Firm-Level Surveys in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 374-385.
    7. 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.
    8. Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Job search and mobility in developing countries. Theory and policy implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-355, June.
    9. Arbex, Marcelo, 2013. "Tax enforcement policies, tax evasion and time allocation," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 285-293.
    10. Sangeeta Pratap & Erwan Quintin, 2001. "Are labor markets segmented in Argentina? a semiparametric approach," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0701, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    11. 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.
    12. Chaudhuri, Sarbajit & Mukhopadhyay, Ujjaini, 2009. "Revisiting the Informal Sector: A General Equilibrium Approach," MPRA Paper 52135, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. 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.
    14. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
    15. Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William F., 2010. "Comparative analysis of labor market dynamics using Markov processes: An application to informality," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 621-631, August.
    16. Prado, Mauricio, 2011. "Government policy in the formal and informal sectors," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1120-1136.
    17. Pablo Acosta & Gabriel Montes-Rojas, 2014. "Informal Jobs and Trade Liberalisation in Argentina," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(8), pages 1104-1118, August.
    18. Antunes, Antonio R. & Cavalcanti, Tiago V. de V., 2007. "Start up costs, limited enforcement, and the hidden economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 203-224, January.
    19. 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.
    20. Lopez-Martin, Bernabe, 2019. "Informal Sector Misallocation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3065-3098, December.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2006-130. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/widerfi.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Siméon Rapin (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/widerfi.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.