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The informal sector as a substitute for social security

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  • Kolmar, Martin
  • Marjit, Sugata

Abstract

We consider an economy with two groups of individuals, rich and poor. A central authority can either directly redistribute income to the poor, or allow for some degree of informality in economic activities by not enforcing property rights. The optimal degree of informality depends upon the characteristics of the resources used by the poor if property rights are not perfectly enforced. It is shown that the degree of enforcement falls if the resource is becoming less rivalrous in use. Hence, the informal sector is a better substitute for social security, the more the resources used by the informal sector have the character of public goods. We explore the basic trade-offs and discuss the special cases of anarchy, perfect civil society and the absence of a welfare state. In addition to this we analyze the similarities and differences between a welfare-maximizing state and a predatory state.

Suggested Citation

  • Kolmar, Martin & Marjit, Sugata, 2002. "The informal sector as a substitute for social security," Discussion Papers, Series I 316, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kondp1:316
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-739, September.
    2. Bush, Winston C. & Mayer, Lawrence S., 1974. "Some implications of anarchy for the distribution of property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 401-412, August.
    3. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
    4. Marjit, Sugata & Shi, Heling, 1998. "On controlling crime with corrupt officials," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 163-172, January.
    5. Marjit, Sugata & Mukherjee, Vivekananda & Mukherjee, Arijit, 2000. "Harassment, corruption and tax policy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 75-94, March.
    6. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 1996. "Inequality, Predation and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 5704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    8. Marjit, Sugata & Rajeev, Meenakshi & Mukherjee, Diganta, 2000. "Incomplete information as a deterrent to crime," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 763-773, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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