The Response of the Informal Sector to Trade Liberalization

52 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2003

See all articles by Pinelopi Goldberg

Pinelopi Goldberg

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Nina Pavcnik

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2003

Abstract

This Paper studies the relationship between trade liberalization and informality. It is often claimed that increased foreign competition in developing countries leads to an expansion of the informal sector, defined as the sector that does not comply with labour market legislation. Using data from two countries that experienced large trade barrier reductions in the 1980's and 1990's - Brazil and Colombia - we examine the response of the informal sector to liberalization. In Brazil, we find no evidence of a relationship between trade policy and informality. In Colombia, we do find evidence of such a relationship, but only for the period preceding a major labour market reform that increased the flexibility of the Colombian labour market. These results point to the significance of labour market institutions in assessing the effects of trade policy on the labour market.

Keywords: Informal sector, trade policy, labour market regulation, Colombia, Brazil

JEL Classification: F10, F13, J31

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Pinelopi (Penny) and Pavcnik, Nina, The Response of the Informal Sector to Trade Liberalization (April 2003). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3874. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=413482

Pinelopi (Penny) Goldberg (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 208268
37 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-3569 (Phone)
203-432-6323 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Nina Pavcnik

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

6106 Rockefeller Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2537 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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