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Journal Articles Economic Development and Cultural Change Year : 2014

The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data

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Abstract

We estimate the informal-formal sector pay gap throughout the conditional wage distribution using panel data from Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. We control for time-invariant unobservables, and identification stems from intersector movers. We control for observables in a nonlinear way using propensity score reweighting and carefully check for potential measurement errors. Using similar definitions of informality, we obtain consistent results for all three countries: informally employed workers earn much less than formal workers primarily because of lower observable and unobservable skills. Estimates of the conditional wage gap show that they are also underpaid compared to their formal sector counterparts. In all three countries, the informal wage penalty is larger in the lower part of the conditional distribution and tends to disappear at the top (i.e., the informal sector increases wage dispersion). The magnitudes of these effects vary across countries, with the largest penalties in lower conditional quantiles of South Africa and more modest wage gaps in Latin America. We suggest explanations in line with different legal and labor market conditions.

Dates and versions

hal-01474417 , version 1 (22-02-2017)

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Olivier Bargain, Prudence Kwenda. The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2014, 63 (1), pp.117‐153. ⟨10.1086/677908⟩. ⟨hal-01474417⟩
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