In the last decade, Argentina has experienced a considerable decline in informal employment and wage dispersion. This paper extends a search model with exogenous human capital accumulation to include the informal sector. The model is parametrized to match Argentinian data between 1996 and 1998 – before the onset of the declining trend – and it is used to investigate the contribution of labor market measures to the falling informality, unemployment, and wage dispersion. The findings indicate that institutional factors did not contribute to the positive labor market trends observed; on the contrary, results show that higher severance pay and minimum wages increase informality and that the introduction of unemployment assistance contributed to the spread of informal contracts across the work force. Further, I find that compliance with minimum wage regulation strongly affects the final impact of these policies. While non perfect compliance might reduce unemployment, it reinforces the incentives of workers to move to the informal sector.
I thank Orazio Attanasio, Morten Ravn, Marco Fugazza, Eliana La Ferrara, and Andrea Ichino for valuable comments.
Trentini, C. (2016), "Labor Market Policies, Informal Labor Markets, and Wage Dispersion
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