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In the years 2003–2008, the Russian economy experienced a period of strong and sustained growth, which was accompanied by large worker turnover and rising informality. We…
In the years 2003–2008, the Russian economy experienced a period of strong and sustained growth, which was accompanied by large worker turnover and rising informality. We investigate whether the burden of informality falls disproportionately on job separators (displaced workers and quitters) in the Russian labor market in the form of informal employment and undeclared wages in formal jobs. We also pursue the issues whether displaced workers experience more involuntary informal employment than workers who quit and whether informal employment persists. We find a strong positive link between separations and informal employment as well as shares of undeclared wages in formal jobs. Our results also show that displacement entraps some of the workers in involuntary informal employment. Those who quit, in turn, experience voluntary informality for the most part, but there seems a minority of quitting workers who end up in involuntary informal jobs. This scenario does not fall on all separators but predominantly on those with low human capital. Finally, informal employment is indeed persistent since separating from an informal job considerably raises the probability to be informal in the subsequent job.
Informality and informal employment are widespread and growing phenomena in all regions of the world, in particular in low and middle income economies. A large part of economic activity in these countries is not registered or under-declared and many workers enter employment relationships that do not provide any or only partial protection. Causes and consequences of informality in these regions have recently received growing attention, with a particular emphasis on the role of institutions. Several competing paradigms about informality and informal employment exist in the literature. The traditional dualistic view sees the informal segment as the inferior sector, the option of last resort. Due to barriers to entry, minimum wages, unions or other sources of segmentation, formal jobs are rationed. Workers in the informal sector are crowded out from the formal sector involuntarily, their wage being less than that in the formal sector. In contrast, the competitive view sees the formal and informal labor markets not segmented, but integrated. Voluntary choice regarding jobs and particular attributes of these jobs, such as flexible hours, working as a self-employed and being one's own boss as a micro-entrepreneur, and not valuing social security benefits, can be the reasons for remaining in or moving to the informal sector. A third paradigm points to segmentation within the informal sector. Embedding theoretical and empirical analysis of informality and informal employment in low and middle-income countries into the literature helps us to better characterize the labor markets in these countries.
Many developing and transition countries, and even some in the industrialized West, experience periods in which a substantial proportion of the workforce suffer wage…
Many developing and transition countries, and even some in the industrialized West, experience periods in which a substantial proportion of the workforce suffer wage arrears. We examine the implications for estimates of wage gaps and inequality using the Russian labor market as a test case. Wage inequality grew rapidly as did the incidence of wage arrears in Russia in the 1990s. Given data on wages and the incidence of wage arrears we construct counterfactual wage distributions, which give the distribution of pay were arrears not present. The results suggest that wage inequality could be some 30 percent lower in the absence of arrears. If individuals in arrears are distributed across the underlying wage distribution, as appears to be the case in Russia, we show that it may be feasible to use the wage distribution for the subset of those not in arrears to estimate the underlying population wage distribution parameters.
Informality is a growing phenomenon in the developing and transition country labor market context. In particular, it is noticeable that working in an informal employment…
Informality is a growing phenomenon in the developing and transition country labor market context. In particular, it is noticeable that working in an informal employment relationship is often not temporary. The degree of persistence of informality in the labor market might be due to different sources: structural state dependence due to past informality experiences and spurious state dependence due to time-invariant unobserved individual effects, which can alter the propensity of being in the informal sector independently from actual informality experiences. The purpose of our paper is to study the dynamics of informality using a genuine panel data set in the Ukrainian labor market. By estimating a dynamic panel data probit model with endogenous initial conditions, we find a highly significant degree of persistence due to previous informality experiences. This result implies that policies attempting to reduce current levels of informality may have a long-lasting effect on the labor market.