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Informal Firms in Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Stepping Stone or Consolation Prize?

  • Bennett, John

We analyse potential dynamic benefits for a firm from having the option of adopting informal status. Informality may be a stepping stone, without which formality might never be achieved. This result obtains for a broad range of realistic parameter values, suggesting a potential dynamic case for government support of informal firms. Informality may alternatively play a converse role as a consolation prize, a firm only entering an industry (formally) because it recognizes that if profitability is disappointing, it can switch to informality. However, this result obtains for a range of parameter values so narrow to be of no practical significance.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2009/RP2009-19.pdf
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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper RP2009/19.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2009-19
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  1. Aureo de Paula & Jose A Sheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001663, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," Working Paper Series rwp02-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G., 2000. "Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 173-197, August.
  4. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
  5. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hwang, Jason & Rodrik, Dani, 2006. "What You Export Matters," CEPR Discussion Papers 5444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Straub, Stéphane, 2005. "Informal sector: The credit market channel," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 299-321, December.
  7. Bennett, John, 2008. "Formality, Informality, and Social Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 3550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Ahsan, Ahmad & Pages, Carmen, 2007. "Are all labor regulations equal ? Assessing the effects of job security, labor dispute, and contract labor laws in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4259, The World Bank.
  9. Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  13. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
  14. Banerji, Arup & Jain, Sanjay, 2007. "Quality dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 234-250, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Chong, Alberto & Gradstein, Mark, 2007. "Inequality and informality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 159-179, February.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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