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Enforcement of labor regulation, informal labor, and firm performance

  • Almeida, Rita
  • Carneiro, Pedro

This paper investigates how enforcement of labor regulation affects the firm's use of informal employment and its impact on firm performance. Using firm level data on informal employment and firm performance, and administrative data on enforcement of regulation at the city level, the authors show that in areas where law enforcement is stricter firms employ a smaller amount of informal employment. Furthermore, by reducing the firm's access to unregulated labor, stricter enforcement also decreases average wages, productivity, and investment. The results are robust to several specification changes, and to instrumenting enforcement with (1) measures of access of labor inspectors to firms, and (2) measures of general law enforcement in the area where the firm is located.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3756.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3756
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  1. Scarpetta, Stefano & Tressel, Thierry, 2004. "Boosting productivity via innovation and adoption of new technologies : any role for labor market institutions?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3273, The World Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  5. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  6. Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a cross-section of firms," Seminar Papers 713, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2003. "The labor market effects of payroll taxes in a middle-income country: evidence from Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0306, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134, February.
  9. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2003. "Regulation, Productivity and Growth: OECD Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 347, OECD Publishing.
  10. Maloney, William, 2003. "Informality revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2965, The World Bank.
  11. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
  12. Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1998. "Regulatory Discretion and the Unofficial Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 387-92, May.
  13. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
  14. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Carlos Henrique Corseuil, 2004. "The Impact of Regulations on Brazilian Labor Market Performance," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 273-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. James Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2003. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Working Papers 10129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
  17. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "The impact of regulation on growth and informality - cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3623, The World Bank.
  18. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
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