The informal sector, firm dynamics, and institutional participation
The informal microfirm sector is believed to be large, accounting for 20-40 percent of employment in many developing countries. The literature tends to view the sector as the disadvantaged sector of a segmented labor market, as existing to evade government regulations, or as constrained by lack of access to government services. The authors offer a unique theoretical framework to analyze informality and microfirm growth behavior -- one that emphasizes the entrepreneurial nature of informal firms and sees informality as a secondary characteristic. First, they assume that informal firms in developing countries have dynamics similar to firms in industrial countries: entrepreneurs have unobserved, differing cost structures that determine their long-run size and survival -- structures that they can only discover by going into business. Second, informality can be thought of as a decision to participate in societal institutions. Access to mechanisms that ensure property rights, pool risk, or enforce contracts become more important as a firm grows, and the entrepreneur will be willing to pay for them through"taxes"in a way that was not the case as a small firm. The combination of these assumptions generates several of the stylized facts emerging from cross-sectional data and identified in existing models -- informal firms tend to remain small and have high rates of mortality, and lower productivity -- without recourse to government-induced distortions in labor or product markets. Further, the framework predicts that firms whose cost structures dictate that they should expand will make the transition to formality as they grow. Using detailed observations from Mexico, the authors find their view consistent with patterns of formality and growth of microfirms.
|Date of creation:||30 Sep 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988.
"The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants,"
1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
- Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
- 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.
- Loayza, Norman A., 1997. "The economics of the informal sector : a simple model and some empirical evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1727, The World Bank.
- Velenchik, Ann D., 1997.
"Government intervention, efficiency wages, and the employer size wage effect in Zimbabwe,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 305-338, August.
- Velenchik, A.D., 1995. "Government Intervention, Efficiency Wages, and the Employer-Size Wage Effects in Zimbabwe," Papers 95-09, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
- Schaffner, Julie Anderson, 1998. "Premiums to employment in larger establishments: evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 81-113, February.
- Besley, Timothy, 1995.
"Savings, credit and insurance,"
Handbook of Development Economics,
in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2123-2207
- Esfahani, Hadi S & Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad, 1989. "Effort Observability and Worker Productivity: Towards an Explanation of Economic Dualism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 818-36, September.
- 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.
- Orley Ashenfelter & Robert Smith, 1977.
"Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law,"
478, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Palay, Thomas M, 1985. "Avoiding Regulatory Constraints: Contracting Safeguards and the Role of Informal Agreements," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 155-75, Spring.
- Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
- Fenn, P & Veljanovski, C G, 1988. "A Positive Economic Theory of Regulatory Enforcement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1055-70, December.
- Banerji, Arup & Jain, Sanjay, 2007. "Quality dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 234-250, September.
- Yifu Lin, Justin & Nugent, Jeffrey B., 1995. "Institutions and economic development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2301-2370 Elsevier.
- Davis, Steven J & Haltiwanger, John & Schuh, Scott, 1996.
" Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing the Facts,"
Small Business Economics,
Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 297-315, August.
- Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1993. "Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing theFacts," NBER Working Papers 4492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
- Peattie, Lisa, 1987. "An idea in good currency and how it grew: The informal sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 15(7), pages 851-860, July.
- Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
- Rauch, James E., 1991. "Modelling the informal sector formally," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 33-47, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1988. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.