Who Needs Security in a Crisis? Evidence from an In-the-Field Choice Experiment in Lebanon

37 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2023

See all articles by Georgios Melios

Georgios Melios

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science; University College London

Yara Sleiman

Univeristy College London; London School of Economics

Elisabetta Pietrostefani

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), Department of Geography and Environment; University College London - Institute for Global Prosperity

Henrietta Moore

University College London - Institute for Global Prosperity

Abstract

Who opts for informal work arrangements in times of severe economic uncertainty, and why? While extensive research has been conducted on the effects of informality on the economy, the empirical evidence about which employees enter the informal labour market remains mixed. This study elicits labour preferences for informal work arrangements in Lebanon, a country grappling with severe economic instability. Drawing on qualitative insights, we operationalise informality in the Lebanese labour market and administer an in-the-field choice experiment to elicit job preferences (N=1450) in two Lebanese cities. Our findings show that employees prefer job choices that offer social protection and private insurance but avoid formal contracts.Using an unsupervised clustering technique, we sort informal workers into distinct skill-based groups and show that high-skilled workers self-sort in informality to avoid social security and contracts in an unstable environment. Implications with regard to tax and social security legislation are discussed.

Keywords: Informal labour market, Lebanon, Choice Experiment, Job preferences

Suggested Citation

Melios, Georgios and Sleiman, Yara and Pietrostefani, Elisabetta and Moore, Henrietta, Who Needs Security in a Crisis? Evidence from an In-the-Field Choice Experiment in Lebanon. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4479897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4479897

Georgios Melios (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science ( email )

(PBS), 3rd Floor, Queens House
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University College London ( email )

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Yara Sleiman

Univeristy College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
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07432853524 (Phone)
SW11 3RZ (Fax)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
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Elisabetta Pietrostefani

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

University College London - Institute for Global Prosperity ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Henrietta Moore

University College London - Institute for Global Prosperity ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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