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Labor market dynamics in developing countries: comparative analysis using continuous time Markov processes


  • Bosch, Mariano
  • Maloney, William


The authors study the dynamics of three developing country labor markets using recent advances in the estimation of continuous time Markov processes. They first examine the flows of workers among five states: three types of paid labor, unemployment, and out of the labor force. The authors find a high degree of commonality in patterns of worker flows among the three countries and attempt to compare the flexibility of the markets by examining an index of overall mobility. Second, they seek to establish whether the issues of advanced country labor markets apply to developing country markets or whether the latter constitute a different phylum. Paralleling the mainstream literature on the role of being out of the labor force as discouraged unemployment, the authors then identify some common stylized facts about the role of the informal self-employed and salaried sectors and to what degree they serve as a holding pattern versus a desirable alternative to formal sector work. In the process, the authors identify very strong differences in mobility patterns between men and women and attempt to shed some light on whether these differences arise from discrimination or perhaps instead the constraints imposed by household responsibilities. Finally, they study labor market adjustment across the business cycle in Mexico and identify patterns of job creation and destruction among the three paid sectors and confirm the mainstream view of the role of out of the labor force as a procyclical phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Bosch, Mariano & Maloney, William, 2005. "Labor market dynamics in developing countries: comparative analysis using continuous time Markov processes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3583, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3583

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1974. "Alternative Theories of Wage Determination and Unemployment in LDC's: The Labor Turnover Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 194-227.
    4. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    5. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    6. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stephen Nickell, 1995. "Labour Market Dynamics in OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0255, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pagés, Carmen & Stampini, Marco, 2009. "No education, no good jobs? Evidence on the relationship between education and labor market segmentation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 387-401, September.
    2. Paula Auerbach & María Eugenia Genoni & Carmen Pagés, 2005. "Social Security Coverage and the Labor Market in Developing Countries," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1111, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. World Bank, 2007. "Chile - County Gender Assessment : Expanding Women's Work Choices to Enhance Chile's Economic Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7639, The World Bank.
    4. Loayza, Norman V. & Rigolini, Jamele, 2006. "Informality trends and cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4078, The World Bank.
    5. Tansel, Aysit & Kan, Elif Oznur, 2011. "Labor mobility across the formal/informal divide in Turkey: evidence from individual level data," MPRA Paper 35672, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2006. "Growth and labour markets in developing countries," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-12, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    7. Bosch, Mariano & Goni, Edwin & Maloney, William, 2007. "The determinants of rising informality in Brazil : Evidence from gross worker flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4375, The World Bank.
    8. Lehmann, Hartmut & Pignatti, Norberto, 2007. "Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 3269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. Paula Auerbach & María Eugenia Genoni & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2005. "Cobertura del sistema de seguridad social y el mercado laboral en países en desarrollo," Research Department Publications 4422, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    11. Carmen Pagés-Serra & Marco Stampini, 2007. "¿Sin formación no hay buenos empleos? Elementos de juicio sobre la relación entre la formación y la segmentación del mercado laboral," Research Department Publications 4562, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    12. José Rodriguez & Gabriel Rodriguez, 2012. "Explaining the Transition Probabilities in the Peruvian Labor Market," Documentos de Trabajo / Working Papers 2012-334, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
    13. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
    14. Gilbert, John & Oladi, Reza, 2009. "Capital specificity, imperfect labor mobility and growth in developing economies," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 113-122, January.
    15. Melanie Khamis, 2005. "Crisis and Recovery in Argentina: Labor market, poverty, inequality and pro-poor growth dynamics," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 135, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

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