Geneva Trade and Development Workshop: Pinelopi Goldberg - Trade and Informality in the Presence of Labor Market Frictions and Regulations

On Monday 18 October, Penny Goldberg will present her paper "Trade and Informality in the Presence of Labor Market Frictions and Regulations", joint with Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Costas Meghir and Gabriel Ulyssea.

Abstract: We build an equilibrium model of a small open economy with labor market frictions and imperfectly enforced regulations. Heterogeneous firms sort into the formal or informal sector. We estimate the model using data from Brazil, and use counterfactual simulations to understand how trade affects economic outcomes in the presence of informality. We show that: (1) Trade openness unambiguously decreases informality in the tradable sector, but has ambiguous effects on aggregate informality. (2) The productivity gains from trade are understated when the informal sector is omitted. (3) Trade openness results in large welfare gains even when informality is repressed. (4) Repressing informality increases productivity, but at the expense of employment and welfare. (5) The effects of trade on wage inequality are reversed when the informal sector is incorporated in the analysis. (6) The informal sector works as an "unemployment," but not a "welfare buffer" in the event of negative economic shocks.

The GTDW is an established regular trade and development seminar series organized jointly by the Geneva School of Economics and Management of the University of Geneva (GSEM), the Graduate Institute in Geneva (IHEID), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). After twelve years of running as an on-site seminar, the online edition of GTDW is co-organized with the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Visit GTDW's website for further information: